Speakers at a human chain have demanded effective measures for proper management of medical waste in the capital as well as across the country as mismanagement of those may turn disastrous to public health and lethal for the environment.
A sound medical waste management is absent and the uncontrolled medical waste management combined with general waste is putting the environment and public health at grave risk, they said.
Demanding an effective waste management system, 13 organizations including Poribesh Bachao Andolon (Poba) and Nagorik Adhikar Sangrakkhan Forum (NASaf) formed a human chain on Saturday, in front of the National Museum with the slogan “Not nominal medical waste management; We want effective management of medical waste”.
The speakers said medical waste is a big problem in various divisions, districts, upazilas and municipalities of the country including the capital. It has become a serious threat to the environment and public health.
“The problem has escalated during the pandemic. Waste from various hospitals in Dhaka is being dumped in open dustbins or sewers in front of hospitals, including rivers all over the capital,” said a speaker.
The speakers further said that proper management strategy and effective implementation of medical waste in a country's health system and its impact on public health is very important. The health sector in Bangladesh has grown exponentially, as has the use of disposable / disposable medical supplies.
As a result, huge amount of medical waste is being generated every day. The list of high-risk medical wastes includes used needles, syringes, blood and pus-filled cotton, gauze, bandages, human organs, tumors, medicine bottles, blood bags, saline bags, expired medicines, harmful chemicals, etc.
Moreover, the combination of water pipes with sewage lines also spreads infectious diseases. Most of these wastes are contagious, and the spread of disease through them is increasing at an alarming rate. Typhoid, cholera, tuberculosis, dysentery, diarrhea, HIV, various skin diseases, jaundice, pneumonia and complications caused by the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria are affecting the general public.
The waste water contains highly toxic metals and chemicals such as trichloroethylene, lead, arsenic, benzene, copper, zinc, cadmium, nickel, etc. which can cause serious diseases including skin diseases.
Safe disposal of medical waste is an important part of hospital design according to World Health Organization policies. According to the speakers at the human chain, such policies are completely absent in hospital design in Bangladesh.
They urged the Ministry of Health to give importance to develop a healthy system for the country and for management of medical waste during the pandemic.
Chairman of Poba Abu Naser Khan, General Secretary of NASaf Md Tayeb Ali, General Secretary of Poba Md Abdus Sobhan, Executive Director of Gram Bangla Unnayan Committee AKM Maqsood, President of Old Dhaka Nagarik Udyog Nazim Uddin, President of BDclick Aminul Islam, Member Secretary of Environment Development Society Menon Chowdhury, Dhaka Youth Foundation Spokesperson Md Imran Hossain, Alokit Bandhu Sangha, Hill's founding member Jebun Nesa and others were present in the human chain.