The disposal of infectious medical waste from hospitals such as syringes, masks, PPE kits, face shields, scalpels, bandages and chemicals has created a menace in India since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country. With increasing COVID-19 cases, the amount of waste has increased, making more people vulnerable to the pandemic.
It has overwhelmed existing medical transport and disposal infrastructure around hospitals.
IIT Delhi To The Rescue
To address the growing menace, the researchers of IIT Delhi have developed a real-time decision support framework for hospitals and helped them select an economically, socially and sustainable medical waste disposable firm.
The medical institutes on the brink of bursting with medical waste can utilise the framework to choose the right firm for themselves, with numerous criteria and constraints for the selection.
The study titled "Selection of Healthcare Waste Disposal (HCW) Firms Using a Multi-Method Approach" has been published in the Journal of Environmental Management.
India Today listed ten key factors mentioned in the study from the literature and field surveys for the selection of the firm.
- Manpower of the HCW firm.
- Any cases filed against the firm.
- Firm's cost of providing services to the hospital.
- Firm's reputation with existing clients of HCW outsourcing firm.
- The number of years for which the HCW firm has been functional.
- The availability of technologies with the firm for disposal and recycling of the waste.
- Waste collection instruments and vehicles are available with the firm.
- Training and awareness programs provided to housekeeping staff by the firm regarding waste management.
- Capacity planning for recycling waste collected by the firm.
- The risk associated with the handling and disposal of the waste.
Speaking to the media, Prof. Surya Prakash Singh said that the proposed framework empowers hospitals to select the right firm for them. Additionally, it will also help reduce confrontations between the various stakeholders, including hospitals, HCW firms, and environmental regulatory bodies like Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).