Lebanon’s Hospitals Toxic Waste: A Major Problem Still to be Solved!!
The hospital waste management problem does not only face Lebanon but a large number of nations; thus, there is an urgent need to address this growing serious problem and start analyzing and planning how to effectively manage the biomedical waste disposal of the healthcare system.
Biomedical waste management in Hospitals is highly infectious and pathological, generated both in solid and liquid forms during diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings or in hospital research activities. Some of the medical wastes can be: tissues, organs, liquids, body parts, needles, syringes, scalpels and blades. The main source of waste generated from health care institutions and hospitals comes from laboratories, pharmacy stores, dialysis rooms, radiology and chemotherapy areas, medical and operating rooms
Such waste can lead to all kind of diseases if not handled properly, besides hurting waste handlers. If not disposed of properly, such waste can cause diseases such as lungs infections, respiratory and urinary tracts, and skin diseases.
Lebanon is one of the most dynamic healthcare markets in the Arab region. The country remains a regional leader in healthcare; it enjoys a growing health tourism and cosmetic surgery sector, and spends a noteworthy percentage of GDP on healthcare, the highest rate in the MENA region. Despite this growth in healthcare, Lebanon does not have a legislation which governs the waste management and its treatment for the healthcare system. Hospitals in Lebanon which include more than 15,500 beds generate more than 11 tons of waste per day including the biomedical ones. This number is increasing with the growth of the population age as well as the rise in the numbers of refugees from regional conflicts.
Without a proper national waste management for hospitals, we are increasing the risks of deteriorating the health of our population by exposing them to infectious and pathological diseases. Our health should be the primary objective of our government. A solid legislation as well as a national plan for healthcare waste management is needed to protect us, our children and the future generations.
Dr. Marcel Bassil