Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if medical waste was treated just like regular everyday trash? Would things be better, worse, or stay the same? Let’s find out…
One of the most common and harmful ways of improperly disposing unwanted medical waste is dumping it into rivers, lakes, and oceans. Not only can this hurt the marine life, but the trash can also wash back up onto the shore and pollute the beaches. In the 1980’s there was a large environmental disaster in New York and New Jersey. Dubbed “Syringe Tide”, significant amounts of medical waste washed up on to beaches, forcing them to close. The waste was eventually traced back to a landfill in Staten Island, and the city of New York was fined $1 million USD in damages.
If one landfill can cause this much disruption and damage, just imagine if every bloody bandage and used needle were thrown into the ocean.
As I’m sure you know loose sharps are a very dangerous hazard for everybody. Thankfully, we have systems in place to make sure people who need to can properly dispose of their used needles. What would happen if we just tossed out used needles like we would an old apple?
According to the World Health Organization, 16 billiion needles are used worldwide every year! Improper sharps disposal can be dangerous to both people and the environment. To put that in perspective, 16 billion needles weigh around 50 million pounds, or approximately 25,000,000 apples!
If there was no such thing as medical waste disposal, every time somebody took the garbage out, cleaned a room, or even walked outside in no shoes they would be in danger. Children could pick up and play with used needles, birds would pick up the smaller sharps and use them to build nests, and dogs may even try to eat them!
Luckily for us, the spread of transmittable diseases like HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, Ebola and others can often be managed with proper medical waste disposal and transportation. Sadly for the people in our alternate universe, without utilizing proper medical waste disposal many transmittable diseases spread very quickly through human waste and remains.
As it turns out, the world would be a much worse place without proper waste disposal! Diseases would spread quickly, the ocean would be filled with biohazardous waste, and the garbage would be filled with used needles.
What do you think the world would be like without medical waste disposal? Leave a comment and let us know!