Document Type

Article

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Disciplines

3. MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES

Publication Details

Healthcare 2021, 9(3), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9030284

Abstract

Healthcare is a rapidly growing industry as medical treatments become more sophisticated, more in demand due to increasing incidence of chronic disease and more widely available worldwide. This booming industry is also creating more waste than ever before and, as such, there is a growing need to treat and dispose of this waste. Healthcare waste (HCW) disposal includes a multitude of disposal methods, including incineration, landfilling and chemical treatments. These rudimentary methods and their growing use present their own problems that negatively impact both the environ- ment and, in turn, damage public health, thus contributing to a global healthcare crisis. The aim of this review was to examine the current HCW disposal methods in place and the harmful effects they have on the environment and on public health. The findings accumulated in this review demonstrate a heavy reliance on basic, low tech HCW disposal techniques and uncovered the negative impacts of these methods. There is a notable lack of employment of “greener” HCW disposal methods on a largescale due to cost, access and feasibility. Despite innovations in HCW disposal, there is no scalable, global green solution at present. Further, the review highlights that global health consequences of HCW disposal methods often differ depending on how developed the country is.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9030284


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