Medical and Electronic Waste


Relevant facts medical and electronic waste in Bangladesh

  • Medical and electronic wastes are becoming a major problem for Bangladesh.
  • Modern medical care is more dependent on inputs (including syringes) that are meant for one-time use only, to be disposed thereafter, so that the volume of medical waste is growing at a much faster rate than the rate of expansion of medical care.
  • Many items of medical waste are hazardous, toxic, some even radioactive, and others having the potential to spread infection.
  • No proper and separate system for disposal of medical waste is yet in place so that medical establishments (clinics and hospitals) are general public are generally combining medical waste with ordinary household waste, thus aggravating the danger to environment and public health.
  • With the rise in income, the use of electronic products is expanding at a very fast rate.
  • The number of cell phones in Bangladesh has crossed 50 million and is approaching 70 million.
  • Like inputs of medical care, the tendency for electronic gadgets is also toward shorter life span, so that electronic waste is piling up fast, as people change models and makes frequently.
  • Some electronic waste, particularly those involving batteries, can have radioactive elements.
  • No proper and separate system is in place for disposal of electronic waste, creating a risky situation for public health and environment.

BEN’s recommendations regarding medical and electronic waste

  1. Medical establishments should be required to set up appropriate disposal system for their waste, in cooperation with the local governments, and make it mandatory for the medical establishments to use the system, with imposition of fines on violators.
  2. The general public should be made aware of the separate system of disposal of medical waste so that they can also use it as necessary.
  3. Instead of slavishly imitating the western dependence on one-time use, disposable inputs for medical care, Bangladesh needs to preserve and promote the traditional practice of using reusable inputs, to the extent that such use is fully safe.
  4. Local governments should set up appropriate system for disposal of electronic waste, in cooperation with the sellers of electronic equipments, in particular the cell phone companies.
  5. The general public should be made aware of the system of disposal of electronic waste, so that they can use is as necessary.
  6. Frequent change of models and makes electronic products that basically perform the same operations should be discouraged through tax and levies so that the fast growth of electronic waste can be held back to some extent.