Proper disposal of clinical waste and PPE

Personal protective equipment used by healthcare workers are disposed in accordance to a comprehensive clinical waste management system. — Filepic

JOHOR BARU: Some 321 metric tonnes of clinical waste, including personal protective equipment (PPE) from hospitals and clinics in Johor, were sent for disposal during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Johor Environment Department (DOE) director Mohd Famey Yusoff said the waste collected and disposed was from the start of the movement control order (MCO) on March 18 until May 10.

“All waste is filtered at the hospitals or clinics, collected and sent by special vehicles to be disposed at 12 incinerators nationwide,’’ he said.

The incinerators are managed by seven companies --- five government concessionaires and two that handle clinical waste from private medical facilities.

Mohd Famey said that just like all clinical waste from the government hospitals and clinics, any clinical waste produced by private hospitals and clinics in Johor must be disposed at the designated facilities.

He said clinical waste, including pathogenic waste and quarantine materials, were categorised as scheduled waste with the code

SW 404.

“All waste is being handled in the right manner, following the comprehensive clinical waste management system,’’ he said, adding that hospitals and clinics would determine the schedules to collect and dispose SW 404.

Mohd Famey said the quantity of scheduled waste accumulated at sites should not exceed 20 metric tonnes and not stored for more than 180 days.

“The regulations are clearly stated under the Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulations 2005,’’ he said.

He pointed out that DOE did not get directly involved in the collection and disposal of scheduled waste produced by hospitals and clinics in Johor.

Mohd Famey said it was up to the organisations to appoint contractors licensed by DOE to handle the collection and disposal of their clinical waste.

He added that DOE would only monitor the management of clinical waste including inventory, storing, labelling and transporting it from hospitals and clinics to the prescribed disposal locations.

Clinical waste is that which contains human or animal tissue, blood or body fluids, excretions, drugs, pharmaceutical products, soiled swabs or dressings, syringes, needles and any item that has come into contact or has been mixed with any of the above types of waste.

The PPE for healthcare personnel consists of goggles or disposable full-face shields, N95 filtering face piece respirators, gowns and gloves.
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