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Healthcare waste management during disasters and its effects on climate change: Lessons from 2010 earthquake and cholera tragedies in Haiti.

Author(s): Raila, Emilia M; Anderson, David O
Source: Waste Manag Res;: 734242X16682312, 2017 Jan 01.
Abstract: Despite growing effects of human activities on climate change throughout the world, and global South in particular, scientists are yet to understand how poor healthcare waste management practices in an emergency influences the climate change. This article presents new findings on climate change risks of healthcare waste disposal during and after the 2010 earthquake and cholera disasters in Haiti. The researchers analysed quantities of healthcare waste incinerated by the United Nations Mission in Haiti for 60 months (2009 to 2013). The aim was to determine the relationship between healthcare waste incinerated weights and the time of occurrence of the two disasters, and associated climate change effects, if any. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient indicated a weak correlation between the quantities of healthcare waste disposed of and the time of occurrence of the actual emergencies (r (58) = 0.406, p = 0.001). Correspondingly, linear regression analysis indicated a relatively linear data trend (R = 0.16, F (1, 58) = 11.42, P = 0.001) with fluctuating scenarios that depicted a sharp rise in 2012, and time series model showed monthly and yearly variations within 60 months. Given that the peak healthcare waste incineration occurred 2 years after the 2010 disasters, points at the need to minimise wastage on pharmaceuticals by improving logistics management. The Government of Haiti had no data on healthcare waste disposal and practised smoky open burning, thus a need for capacity building on green healthcare waste management technologies for effective climate change mitigation.
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