How Covid-19 medical waste processed in the Sultanate?

Muscat: Healthcare waste treatment has been centre of attention of all the governments around the world, as throwing this kind of waste in garbage is just the beginning. With Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak over the globe, medical waste is being treated with more care to prevent any potential infection among the workers in the field.

The Oman Environmental Services Holding, Be’ah, the entity responsible for solid waste management in Sultanate, explained that it deals with healthcare waste of infected or suspected cases of the coronavirus in the Sultanate as per set norms.

The medical waste management process has professional procedures as the waste is placed in double bags tightly, while strictly applying the preventive measures for the workers, such as wearing masks, protective goggles, and vests.

The bags are then put in separate special containers, and transferred to the waste treatment facilities, designed specifically to address the harmful and infectious aspect of the waste. Then, the waste is treated immediately either by incinerations or autoclave devices. Incinerations are used to dispose of the waste completely by burning it and the autoclaves are machines that sterilise the waste to render it harmless.

The company confirmed that it cleans and sterilises the trucks and containers as soon as the containers are unloaded and the waste is discharged into the treatment devices.

An environmental study recently revealed the annual production rate of health care waste throughout the Sultanate that amounts to about 4,500 tonnes produced from different institutions providing health care; most of them are in the Muscat Governorate (55 percent) because it has the majority of private, government, and regional healthcare institutions.

Governorates of Dhofar, Northern al Batinah and Al Dakhliya come second in terms of production. Hazardous types make up between 15-25 percent of total healthcare waste.

Healthcare waste is waste generated at healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, dental practices, blood banks, and veterinary premises, as well as medical research facilities and laboratories. These include potentially infectious materials posing a significant risk of transmitting infection.

The healthcare waste infrastructure in Oman affiliated to Be’ah has three main operational facilities set up in remote locations which are Al Multqa in Muscat, Liwa in Batinah North and Thumrait in Dhofar.