Medical Waste Management with COVID-19

November 2, 2021

Safe management of these biomedical and healthcare wastes is essential to community health and the integrity of the environment.

On the contrary, the incorrect handling of such a volume of products can cause “a rebound effect”, both in the health of people and the environment, and hence the vital importance on their management and final disposal in a safe way. as part of an effective emergency response.

Furthermore, it is important that uniform standards for the protection of the environment and human health are applied in all healthcare facilities, regardless of the technologies used for treatment and disposal. This in turn will ensure greater viability and efficiency in the sector.

Lack of resources or expertise in standard setting can also be factors that significantly affect the ability to treat health and biomedical waste.

The UN Program recalls that in order to effectively manage biomedical and healthcare waste, the following factors must be taken into account:

  1. Generation and minimization
  2. Separation
  3. Identification and classification
  4. Handling and storage
  5. Packaging and labeling
  6. Transportation in and out of healthcare facilities
  7. Treatment
  8. Waste disposal, including emissions
  9. Occupational health and safety; public and environmental health
  10. Community and stakeholder awareness and education
  11. Community Research on and development of improved technologies and environmentally friendly practices

It also highlights the existence of other important associated aspects that include disinfection, and the protection and training of personnel.

Waste sorting


Blood and its components, only in its liquid form, as well as non-commercial derivatives, including progenitor and hematopoietic cells and the cellular or acellular fractions of the resulting blood (blood derivatives).

C U L T I V O S  Y  C E P A S  D E  A G E N T E S  B I O L Ó G I C O – I N F E C C I O S O S

Cultures generated in diagnostic and research procedures, as well as those generated in the production and control of biological-infectious agents. Disposable utensils used to contain, transfer, inoculate and mix cultures of biological-infectious agents.


Tissues, organs and parts that are removed or removed during necropsies, surgery or some other type of surgical intervention, that are not in formaldehyde. As well as biological samples for chemical, microbiological, cytological and histological analysis, excluding urine and excrement; carcasses and animal parts that were inoculated with enteropathogenic agents in research centers and animal houses.

R E S I D U O S   A N A T Ó M I C O S

Disposable containers containing liquid blood; healing materials, soaked, saturated, or dripping blood or any of the following body fluids: synovial fluid, pericardial fluid, pleural fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, or peritoneal fluid. o Disposable materials containing sputum, pulmonary secretions and any material used to contain these, from patients with suspected or diagnosed tuberculosis or another infectious disease; as well as disposable materials from patients with suspected or diagnosed hemorrhagic fevers.


Who have been in contact with humans or animals or their biological samples during diagnosis and treatment, only: capillary tubes, razors, lancets, disposable syringe needles, hypodermic, suture, acupuncture and tattoo needles, scalpels and catheter stylets , except all broken glass material used in the laboratory, which must be disinfected or sterilized before being disposed of as municipal waste.

Effective decontamination methods

Saturated Steam Sterilization

An autoclave is a thick-walled metal pressure vessel with a tight seal that allows high pressure operation for industrial reaction, cooking, or steam sterilization to disinfect surgical instruments and materials. Its construction must be such that it resists the pressure and temperature developed inside. The elevated pressure allows the water to reach temperatures above 100 ° C. The joint action of temperature and steam produces the denaturation of the proteins of microorganisms, including those essential for life and their reproduction, a fact that leads to their destruction.

It is recommended since sterilization is faster in this way we avoid storage and therefore maintain the source of infection that it generates. also with this procedure we can effectively eliminate the virus and reuse non-disposable instruments. such as masks, uniforms, glassware, among others

Once sterilized, disposable materials can be handled as low-risk waste, so the procedure would be the normal one for RPBI.

Incineration of material

The incineration of organic solid waste is a technology for treating organic solid waste from garbage. It consists of incinerating the waste at high temperatures, which reduces its volume by 95% and its weight by up to 80%. If filter systems are not installed in the combustion, ash, slag or inert residues and toxic gases result that can seriously affect people’s health.

This measure is not recommended since in order to eliminate it, the waste must be transported and stored, which generates a focus of serious infection when it is transferred. since in our country there are not many companies that can cover these services.

The other measures of sterilization or waste disposal are not recommended for COVID-19 since burial and chemical decontamination.

  1. Burial does not eliminate the virus, which could contaminate aquifers and the nearby land where these wastes are placed.
  2. Chemical decontamination requires large amounts of chemicals and deposits thereof to be able to fully submerge the material and that can be considered effective,

There are several manuals and booklets published by the government that will allow us to follow the established procedure

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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