Concerns Rise Over Improper Disposal of Medical Waste

medical waste hazardous waste management

Improper disposal of medical waste in Cyprus is a pressing concern, with only a fraction of private doctors adhering to regulations. Efforts, such as awareness campaigns and fines, are being made to improve waste management practices and reduce health and environmental risks.

What are the concerns regarding the disposal of medical waste?

Improper disposal of medical waste poses significant health risks, as only 667 out of 2,791 private doctors in Cyprus comply with regulations. This non-compliance can spread infections and toxicity. Efforts, including fines and awareness campaigns, are underway to improve adherence to waste management practices and mitigate environmental and public health risks.

A Growing Environmental Issue

The management of medical waste has become a pressing concern, particularly with non-compliance among private healthcare providers. Although regulations require medical waste to be handled by licensed companies, a significant number of private practitioners are not adhering to this mandate. The hazardous waste management association has observed that less than a quarter of private doctors are disposing of their medical waste correctly.

The Stance of the Health Insurance Organisation

Despite the hazardous waste management association’s repeated calls for adherence to regulations, there has been a lack of response. This silence persists even after months of effort to initiate dialogue and encourage proper waste management practices.

A Closer Look at Compliance Statistics

Sedea, the hazardous waste management association, spotlights an unsettling statistic: a mere 667 out of 2,791 private doctors are following the guidelines for medical waste disposal. This non-compliance not only poses health risks but also contradicts the €300 fee set for weekly waste collection services. Compliance rates among other medical services are notably higher, with dentistry providers reaching a full 100%.

Measures Against the Irregularities

The environment department has taken notice, with a door-to-door awareness campaign in the pipeline. This initiative aims to identify the extent of non-compliance and encourage private doctors to follow proper disposal procedures. Fines are set to be issued for any infractions, under the supervision of the agriculture ministry.

Understanding the Risks

The improper disposal of medical waste can introduce immediate and long-term dangers to public health and the environment. As per the World Health Organisation, around 15% of healthcare waste is hazardous, capable of spreading infections, toxicity, or even radioactivity.

Licensing and Regulation

In Cyprus, there are three companies licensed to manage medical waste, adhering to strict European and national legislation. These companies are not only responsible for disposal but also for educating medical practitioners on legal obligations and health risks.

The Challenge Ahead

Despite compliance from large medical centers and public hospitals, the overall system is compromised by private practitioners who disregard the regulations. Reports indicate instances where medical facilities have disposed of hazardous waste in regular trash bags. The WHO emphasizes the critical need for safe and sound health care waste management to prevent the release of potentially dangerous substances.

Next Steps

The hazardous waste management association is poised to take the issue to parliament to highlight the severe implications of mismanaged medical waste. The efforts to secure proper waste handling practices continue, aiming to mitigate the risks posed to workers, public health, and the environment.

Quick Recap

  • Only a fraction of private doctors in Cyprus comply with regulations for the disposal of medical waste, posing significant health risks.
  • Efforts, including fines and awareness campaigns, are being made to improve adherence to waste management practices.
  • Less than a quarter of private doctors in Cyprus are disposing of medical waste correctly.
  • The health insurance organisation has not responded to calls for adherence to regulations.
  • A door-to-door awareness campaign and fines are being implemented to address non-compliance.

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