Solid waste is all non-liquid waste generated. Within hospitals, different types of solid waste are medical and domestic waste, again divided into:
- Highly infectious and toxic
- Combustible and non-combustible
- Construction waste
In order to improve the situation, it is recommended that solid waste is categorically taken care of at the stages of generation, storage, collection/transportation, and disposal.
Training is required to encourage composting, re-use and safe disposal.
Temporary storage of waste with the use of colour coded containers as in the Ministry of Health directory will be adapted for consistency:
|Category of waste||Type of waste||Colour code|
|Non-Infectious Waste||Discarded paper, packaging material, empty bottles or cans and food peelings||Black bin with liner and cover|
|Sharp waste||Unused syringes and needles, needle cut-off used infusion sets, used scalpels, used blades and broken glass||Yellow safety box|
|Infectious waste||Used cotton, used gauze, used gloves, used IV fluid lines||Yellow bin with liner and cover|
|Highly infectious waste||Sputum container, used test tubes, extracted teeth, placenta, pathological waste, used blood giving set, dressing with blood, and all waste from highly infectious patients like Ebola||Red bin with liner and cover|
|Toxic waste||Pharmaceutical waste||Brown bin with liner and cover|
Collection and Transportation
For patients, attendants and staff quarters, a central storage point should be provided. This could strategically be placed along the major-walk ways of the hospital. Hanging litter bins should be installed so “fast disposables” like mineral water bottles, sweets covers, maize cobs, etc. are discarded in a manageable manner.
The central storage point should be strategically located such that use of human-powered and motorized means are possible.
Disposing and Composting
For some of the domestic waste a disposing area might be necessary. Sanitary landfills are constructed in a way that the environment is protected and infiltration of leachate is not contaminating groundwater.
Introduction of composting would mean building up a composting area where the selected organic waste (biodegradable) is treated. The product from composting can be used as soil conditioner in the gardens/plantations. Institutions, like hospitals are using this soil conditioner as additional source of income by selling them to interested persons.
Reasons for proper waste management
A poor management of solid waste is leading to an unhygienic environment. Small decentralized waste pits which are unlined can produce leachate to the surface water or underground water.
The threat posed by poor management of collection and disposal of solid waste is:
- If not disposed well, waste may provide breeding sites for insect-vector, pests, snakes and rodents that increases the likelihood of disease transmission.
- In dry season when there is large volume of dry waste chances of fire hazard is very high.
- The effect of living in unhygienic and untidy environment may lead to people becoming demoralized and less motivated to improve the places around them. Waste attracts waste and this leads to less hygienic behaviour in general.