One of the biggest health threats to the world in this century is global warming. The healthcare industry is responsible for producing a large amount of hazardous wastage, harmful chemicals, using toxic components, or polluting the air. These wide ranges of health activities and medical wastages contribute to the world’s ecosystem. The World Medical Association (WMA) encourages all its staff members and the healthcare community to practice eco-friendly activities and advocate awareness and sustainability.
It might seem easier to follow eco-friendly practices at homes such as recycling bottles, fertilizing foods, etc. However, many hospitals and other medical centers are finding it difficult to establish an environmental-friendly system. Healthcare administrators should put their efforts into creating environmental sustainability in hospitals. Strategically integrating sustainability in hospitals can save resources and provide the utmost care to the patients.
TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE HEALTHCARE FACILITIES ECO-FRIENDLY
Hospital administration must look for ways to make their hospitals more environmental-friendly. Some of them are:
- CONSERVE ENERGY
Minimizing energy consumption can lower down the utility expense and make the environment eco-friendly. It might seem impossible for hospitals to save energy usage; however, that’s not the case. While constructing a new healthcare facility, consider using maximum natural light. Employing natural light in general areas such as wards and offices is the best solution to save energy. Another method is to use energy-efficient bulbs in your healthcare facility. Investing in motion sensor lighting can keep bathrooms, storage rooms, and any other infrequently-used space well-lit in the hospital settings. Moreover, many hospitals are now utilizing cogeneration utility plants to recycle heat and generate energy.
Hospital administration is in charge of determining the energy usage. Employing a team of experts can help in regular checking and maintenance of energy systems. They use energy management software to identify energy consumption within the hospital. Health professionals may seek an online sustainability degree to learn more about energy conservation and advise strategies for reducing utility costs.
- REDUCE WASTE
No wonder health care centers produce a tremendous amount of waste daily, some of which are hazardous to the environment. It is impractical to avoid waste; however, the administration is responsible for mitigating its negative impact. Eco-friendly hospitals sterilize medical waste before throwing them in the landfill. Microwaving, autoclaving, and chemical treatments are some of the methods to disinfect medical waste. Healthcare facilities must also utilize reusable surgical equipment to sterilize instead of disposing of them. Hospitals must lookout for companies that get rid of the trash in eco-friendly ways. These companies ensure that hazardous medical waste doesn’t make it to the soil and harms animal and human lives.
- SAVE WATER
Every hospital and other medical centers need water in abundant quantity daily. Giving baths to patients, cleaning cutlery and bedsheets, and flushing toilets are a few measures that require water usage every day. For this reason, a substantial amount of water goes down the drain regularly. Using effective water-saving techniques in hospitals can make an enormous difference in helping the environment and saving money. Installing faucets and showers with the low flow can reduce water consumption efficiently. Purchasing an efficient-dishwasher can save gallons of water, thus making the healthcare facility eco-friendly. Another water-intensive method is to use rainwater or greywater for flushing toilets.
- MAKE USE OF THE LATEST TECHNOLOGIES
Using paper for maintaining medical records is also a matter of concern. The more papers healthcare facilities use, the more usage of timber lorries and running of paper mills. These trucks and mills release harmful gases into the environment that can prove unhealthy for human health. For this reason, hospitals should switch their paperwork to electronic medical records. It will keep the environment safe and protect the workforce from the unwanted efforts of managing files. Employees can provide optimum quality care since they can have fast access and update information easily on the system. An additional benefit of using modern equipment is that it minimizes the need for printers, cartridges, and paper bundles. Health professionals can prescribe medication online rather than scribbling it down on a notepad. However, while employing the latest technology, don’t forget to schedule regular maintenance.
- USE ECO-FRIENDLY CHEMICALS
Hospitals must disinfect their surfaces to create a healthy environment. Previously, the cleaners used in medical facilities were hazardous for human health. Some of the adverse side-effects were nausea, rashes, breathing problems, headaches, reproductive disorders, brain damages, and cancer. Hospitals must use “green certified” cleaners to disinfect surfaces and become eco-friendly. Experts verify these cleaners and ensure that they are not dangerous to human health or the environment. In addition to it, hospitals must procure goods that practice chemical safety and are recyclable such as batteries, lamps, etc.
- BUY FOOD LOCALLY
The source of food for hospitals plays a vital role in deciding the environmental effect. Canteens in healthcare facilities feed food to thousands of people each day. When these hospitals choose to buy food from distant suppliers, the shipment of food and vegetables results in fuel emissions from trucks. By entering into a contract with local vendors, hospitals can buy local food items that serve as a healthy and fresh diet. It will also reduce gasoline consumption and carbon footprint since deliveries will take place at smaller routes. Moreover, healthcare organizations can collaborate with companies that can take away food waste and turn it into fertilizers for their farming purpose.
- REMOVE THE TRACES OF SMOKE
When it comes to smoke, hospitals are not the first place that crosses people’s minds. However, healthcare facilities do not only produce waste in solid and liquid form. These also release smoke that contains toxic gases during laser and other medical procedures. The noxious gases include benzene, formaldehyde, and others. Studies have revealed that smoke emitted in these processes is equally as harmful as the smoke from cigarettes. Hence, hospitals should lookout for ways to reduce the emission of gases from the outset. Also, instead of evacuating the hazardous gases into the environment, they should filter out the remains of smoke from the room. The lesser smoke in the atmosphere, the easier it is for people to draw breath.
Adapting eco-friendly ways and changing the hospitals into green seems like a costly idea for many people. That is why medical facilities hesitate to take this step and keep the thought in the back of their minds. However, in reality, this is not the case. Instead, going green can save a great deal of money in the long term. It doesn’t matter if the hospital is a small or a large one; the management needs to make it a team effort and involve all employees. Give serious consideration to all the medical procedures and figure out ways to use these strategies. It is high time that everyone plays their part in keeping this planet happy and healthy.