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Bio-medical waste generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings or animals or in research activities pertaining thereto or in the production or testing of biological. It may include wastes like sharps, solid waste, disposables, anatomical waste, discarded medicines, chemical waste etc. This waste is potentially hazardous, the main hazard being infection and may cause a serious threat to human health if its management is indiscriminate and unscientific.
The improper management of bio-medical waste causes serious environmental problems in terms of air, water and land pollution. The nature of pollutants are classified in to biological, chemical and radioactive
Pathogens present in the waste can enter and remain in the air in an institution, or any health care unit for a long period in the form of spores or as pathogens itself. This can result in hospital acquired infection (nosocomial infection) or occupational health hazard.The patients and their attendants also have a chance of contracting infections caused due to pathogens and spores, which are air borne. Poor ventilation, carpets, furniture, equipment used in the consulting rooms as well as operation theater, faulty air conditioning may lead to air pollution. When waste without pretreatment transported outside the institution and it is dumped openly, pathogen can enter the atmosphere, the pathogens can find their way to drinking water, foodstuff, soil etc and or remain in the surrounding air and causes diseases in animals and human beings. Proper waste management practices can reduce this pollution to a large extent.