Stricter sys­tem re­quired for proper dis­posal of clin­i­cal waste

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - A CASE IN NAN­JING,

capital of East China’s Jiangsu prov­ince, shows that the au­thor­i­ties must put the dis­posal of med­i­cal waste un­der strict su­per­vi­sion. Bei­jing News com­mented on Tues­day:

The pub­lic se­cu­rity depart­ment in Qixia district cracked Nan­jing’s first case of im­proper dis­posal of clin­i­cal waste re­cently. It took the po­lice more than three months to catch three peo­ple sus­pected of col­lect­ing in­fu­sion tubes and bags from hos­pi­tals and sell­ing them to plas­tic pro­cess­ing work­shops where they were used to make dis­pos­able table­ware and plas­tic toys.

Med­i­cal waste dif­fers from other types of rub­bish in that it con­tains large amounts of path­o­genic micro­organ­ism and bac­te­ria. The dis­posal of med­i­cal waste is an ex­pen­sive process be­cause it should only be done by qual­i­fied pro­fes­sional agents.

If plas­tic health­care waste is di­rectly re­cy­cled to make other prod­ucts it poses a po­ten­tially fa­tal threat to pub­lic health.

Al­though proper treat­ment of the health­care waste is im­por­tant and nec­es­sary, there is not yet a strict man­age­ment sys­tem in large parts of the coun­try for the safe dis­posal of health­care waste so it doesn’t threaten hu­man health or pol­lute the en­vi­ron­ment.

A city like Nan­jing with more than 8 mil­lion per­ma­nent res­i­dents only has one cer­ti­fied re­cy­cling com­pany to col­lect the med­i­cal waste, and the hos­pi­tals have to pay the com­pany high fees. Il­le­gal col­lec­tors not only help hos­pi­tals to save costs, but also gen­er­ate prof­its for those re­spon­si­ble for dis­pos­ing of the clin­i­cal waste.

Un­der such a loose su­per­vi­sory sys­tem, the deal be­comes a win-win re­al­ity for both sides, but largely at the cost of the pub­lic’s in­ter­ests.

There is a unique iden­ti­fi­ca­tion code on med­i­cal con­sum­ables, which can be used to track down the prod­ucts’ use. But such a use­ful code loses its ef­fi­cacy once the con­sum­ables be­come med­i­cal waste. The au­thor­ity should ex­tend the life­span of these codes and let them con­tinue to play their roles un­til the waste is prop­erly dis­posed of by qual­i­fied re­cy­cling agents.

Be­sides, the mo­nop­oly of one med­i­cal waste re­cy­cling com­pany in one city should be bro­ken by in­tro­duc­ing com­pe­ti­tion, so as to lower hos­pi­tals’ ex­pen­di­ture on treat­ing their waste.

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