Monday, September 07 2020

Rational Use Of Personal Protective Equipment: An Environmental Perspective


Sharang S. Ambadkar, Feelgood Econurture LLP, Mumbai

Dr. Mayur R. Moreker, Bombay Hospital Institute Of Medical Sciences, Mumbai

Dr. Shilpa R. Moreker, Department(S) And Institution(S): Nm Medical Centre, Mumbai


Corresponding Author:

Sharang S. Ambadkar, Director, Feelgood Econurture LLP, Mumbai

E-Mail - Sharangambadkarwork@Gmail.Com  II Cell: +91 9969 343 769

Conflicting Interest: None


Rational Use Of Personal Protective Equipment: An Environmental Perspective

While Battling Covid-19; It Is Vital For Healthcare Workers To Use Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) To Protect Themselves From Hospital Acquired Infections. On 15th May 2020; Our Ministry Of Health And Family Welfare Issued Revised Guidelines For Rational Use Of PPE For Healthcare Workers In Non-Covid Areas of Hospitals. [1] Between 01st March 2020 to 18th May 2020, Our PPE Industry Witnessed 56 Times Growth; Moving From Zero, To Production Of Nearly 4.5 Lakh PPE Kits Every Day. [2] It Is Undoubtedly Of Paramount Importance To Safeguard All Our Healthcare Workers From Covid-19. But It Has Been Observed That Many Times; Citizens At Large; Use PPE Like Disposable N95 Respirators And Disposable Nitrile Gloves; Which Are Actually Meant For Healthcare Workers Working In Covid And Non-Covid Areas Of Our Healthcare Facilities. Thus, While There May Now Not Be A Scarcity Of PPE; An Important Aspect I.E. An Enormous Amount of Plastic Waste That Is Being Generated; Gets Neglected. A Comparison Of The Biomedical Waste Generated Only In Healthcare Facilities; I.E. Isolation Wards, Institutional Quarantine Centres, Sample Collection Centres And Laboratories; In Different Time Frames In A Single State I.E. Punjab; Shows A Total Of 72,194 Kg Collected In 53 Days Between 25-03-2020 And 17-05-2020; Increased To 27,083 Kg In Only 14 Days Between 18-05-2020 And 31-05-2020; Which Further Increased To 81,400 Kg In The 30 Days Of June 2020. [3] In These Testing Times, Biomedical Waste May Not Be Limited To Healthcare Facilities Alone; But May Also; Most Likely Be Added Upon By Households Due To Use Of Disposable PPE Like Single Use Disposable Face Masks, N95 Respirators And Gloves; Followed By Their Inappropriate Disposal I.E. Disposal Without Waste Segregation Into Household And Medical Waste. Over Time, Such Waste Degrades Or Breaks Down Into Smaller Sized Particles (Under 5 Mm) I.E. Microplastics; And Then Get Environmental Access; By Inappropriate Disposal In Landfill, Dump Sites, Fresh Water, Oceans Or Plainly Through Littering At Public Spaces; Causing Environmental Imbalance. [4] Hence, While The Healthcare Workers Use Their PPE Judiciously; It May Be Important That Those Of Us Who Are Not Health Care Workers; Should Not Resort To Using PPE Meant For Healthcare Workers; Like Citizens Using Disposable N95 Respirators Or Even Non-Judiciously Insisting On Health-Care Workers Using ‘Full PPE” In Non-Covid Areas Of Laboratories Or Hospitals; When Such Use Is Actually Not Warranted Or Recommended. It May Thus Also Be Pertinent Now That Healthcare Workers Working In Non-Covid Areas Like Ophthalmology Set-Ups; Help Us Educate And Create Awareness Amongst Their Patients And General Public At Large. For Example; Other-Wise Healthy Patients With Non-Respiratory Symptoms; Visiting Healthcare Facilities Wearing N95 Respirators; Can Be Made Aware Of The Presence Of More Cost Effective And Environment Friendly Options Like Biodegradable Engineered Filtration Layer Masks At Par With N95 Respirators. [5] In Conclusion, Such Awareness, Will Not Only Ensure Availability Of PPE To Our Healthcare Workers; But Also Go A Long Way In Maintaining A Vital Ecological Balance; While Balancing The Safety Needs Of Our Citizens And Healthcare Workers.




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