Muscat: There was more than a 300 per cent rise in medical waste generated between 2012 and 2018. While the amount of medical waste produced was 1,022.89 tonnes in 2012, it jumped to more than 4,294.67 tonnes last year.
But be’ah (Oman Environmental Services Holding Company) was on the task disposing of more than 99 per cent of the waste generated by healthcare facilities across Oman. Proper management of medical waste is vital for checking the spread of infectious diseases and protecting the people and the environment of Oman.
During 2018, be’ah had treated over 4,300 tonnes of medical waste. For its expertise in the management of medical waste, be’ah won the Middle East Waste and Recycling Award for Medical Waste Management Best Practice in 2019.
Jassim Al Wahaibi, Head of the Healthcare Waste Department, said: “The annual production of healthcare waste in the Sultanate is around 4,500 tonnes and hazardous waste comprises up to 15-25 per cent of the total waste generated from healthcare facilities which require proper treatment.”
Healthcare waste includes materials generated from hospitals, clinics, dental practices, blood banks, and veterinary premises, as well as medical research facilities and laboratories. Due to its nature, healthcare waste poses a significant risk of infection.
Al Wahaibi added: “This type of waste can be a cause of contamination to the environment and a threat to the health of living creatures, leading to the spread of infectious diseases. It can cause many serious diseases, such as hepatitis, if not handled properly.”
The highest amount of waste is produced in the Governorate of Muscat where many regional, specialised and private healthcare institutions are located while Dhofar, North Al Batinah and South Al Sharqiyah Governorates come second.
be’ah had started collecting healthcare waste from 2012, and by the end of 2018, its services covered 99.9 per cent of government and private healthcare institutions where the company collects, transports, treats and disposes them at one of its three treatment facilities in Muscat, Al Batinah North, and Dhofar Governorates.
The Head of the Healthcare Waste Department said, “Healthcare Waste Treatment Facilities were established to eliminate the random and illegal disposal of waste and harmful gas emissions from old incinerators in some hospitals.
These state-of-the-art healthcare waste treatment facilities were established as per the latest international standards recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure the safe management and disposal of such waste using the latest scientific methods and technologies.
be’ah’s waste treatment facilities use two types of technologies. They are incineration and autoclave. The autoclave technology shreds and sterilises waste to become harmless, whereas the incineration technology is used specifically to completely burn pharmaceutical waste as well as cytotoxic and genotoxic waste.