JOURNAL OF THE AIR & WASTE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION, cilt.65, ss.1387-1394, 2015 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)
The need for proper healthcare waste management has been a crucial issue in many developing countries as it is in Turkey. The regulation regarding healthcare wastes in Turkey was updated in 2005 in accordance with the European Union (EU) waste directives, but it still falls behind meeting the requirements of current waste treatment technologies. Therefore, this study aims to reveal deficiencies, inconsistencies, and improper applications of healthcare waste management in the western part of the Turkish Black Sea Region. In this study, it was revealed that nearly 1 million people live in the region, resulting in 5 million hospital admissions annually. All the healthcare waste produced (1000 tons yr(-1)) is treated in an autoclave plant. However, treating some categories of healthcare wastes in autoclave units mismatches with the EU waste regulations, as alternative treatment technologies are not technically able to treat all types of healthcare wastes. A proper waste management system, therefore, requires an internal segregation scheme to divert these wastes from the main healthcare waste stream. The existing malpractice in the region could cause serious health problems if no measure is taken urgently. It is expected that healthcare waste management in the region and then all across Turkey will be improved with the significant deficiencies and inconsistencies pointed out in this research.Implications:In developed countries, specific rules and regulations have already been implemented along with the recommendations for handling of healthcare waste. However, in Turkey, these wastes are treated in autoclave units, which mismatches with the European Union waste regulations, as alternative treatment technologies are not technically capable to treat all types of healthcare wastes. The existing malpractice could cause serious health problems if no measure is taken urgently. The authors demonstrated the existing status of Turkish waste management and revealed deficiencies, inconsistencies, and improper applications in comparison with developed and developing nations to align Turkish practice to European Union requirements.