The study was undertaken to investigate the medical waste categories and its management practices in five different hospitals as representative health care institutions in Port Harcourt city, Nigeria. Sampling was conducted by grouping the representative hospitals into large, medium and small categories based on bed space, average bed occupancy rate, ward units, staff strength and patients. Data were obtained by administering questionnaire to hospital staff. Results obtained showed that the average waste types generated in the three categories of hospitals for both hazardous and non-hazardous wastes were in the order of 17.66, 7.89 and 2.36 kg/day for large, medium and small hospitals respectively. The percentage waste generation for the large hospitals show that 41% of the waste type are hazardous, 33% are non hazardous while in the medium size hospitals, 35% of the waste generated are hazardous and non hazardous had 35% and the small scale hospitals had combined waste types as the dominant waste type with 51% followed by non hazardous with 31% and hazardous had the least with 18% of waste types. Solid waste disposal method adopted by the health institutions showed that open dumpsites are most preferred to other disposal methods while liquid wastes are mostly disposed of by flushing through drains/sinks. However, disposal of solid waste by incineration is recommended except for the environmental problems which have a tendency to pollute the sub-soil and groundwater due to their leaching as well as the health risks it pose to the general public.
Key words: Hospital, medical wastes, hazardous waste, waste type, disposal method, environment.
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