The Directorate of Environmental Management and Operational Safety (DGASO) operates the program for the management and disposal of hazardous waste generated by university dependencies, in order to comply with the applicable environmental legislation; This program consists of classifying, storing, managing the transport and final disposal of waste with companies authorized by federal entities such as the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and the Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT).
In accordance to the General Law for the Prevention and Integral Management of Waste (LGPGIR) a hazardous waste (HW) is waste that poses substantial or potential threats to public health or the environment. Hazardous wastes are materials that are known or tested to exhibit one or more of the following four hazardous traits: corrosivity, reactivity, toxicity or ignitability (CRETI).
With this program, the following procedures of classification and collection of hazardous waste were distributed to all the university departments that generate this type of waste; to be part of the “Manual of hazardous waste management”
- Procedure Guidelines on Internal Collection of Hazardous Waste in UANL Undergraduate Schools.
- Procedure Guidelines on Classification, Collection, and Disposal of Biological and Infectious Waste in UANL Entities.
- Procedure Guidelines on Classification of Hazardous Waste in UANL Undergraduate Schools.
Reference documents that provide official information for the identification, storage and transportation of hazardous waste are the Official Mexican Standards, such as those listed below:
The university deparments that generate hazardous waste have implemented the aforementioned procedures, among them are the following:
• Facultad de Ciencias Químicas
• Facultad de Odontología
• Facultad de Medicina y Hospital Universitario
• Facultad de Enfermería
• Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia
• Facultad de Salud Pública y Nutrición
• Facultad de Agronomía
• Escuela Técnica Médica
• Centro Universitario de Salud (CUS)
• Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo en Ciencias de la Salud (CIDICS)
• Centro de Innovación, Investigación y Desarrollo en Ingeniería y Tecnología (CIIDIT)
• Servicios Médicos de la UANL
During the period from January 2016 to June 2017, the aforementioned university departments obtained their official registry of Environmental Registration Number (NRA) with the support and advice of the DGASO. During the period from January 2016 to June 2017, 294.63 tons of hazardous waste (HW) were disposed in accordance with local or federal regulations, 239.33 tons correspond to hazardous biomedical waste (RPBI) and 55.3 tons of hazardous waste of chemical origin.
Hazardous biomedical waste (RPBI’s)
NOM-087-SEMARNAT-SSA1- 2002 defines hazardous biomedical waste (RPBI’s) as is any kind of waste containing infectious (or potentially infectious) materials; like waste materials generated during health care services, also in this standard classifies them in blood, cultures and strains of infectious, pathological agents, non-anatomical residues and sharp objects.
In the period from January 2016 to June 2017, 239.33 tons of RPBI were generated in the aforementioned university facilities, where 83% corresponds to non-anatomical waste (disposable gloves, soaked or dripping healing material and disposable containers containing liquid blood) and 17% to punctures, cultures and strains of infectious and pathological agents (Graph 1).
The proper transfer and confinement of biomedical waste is carried out by companies accredited by the corresponding authorities. In such a way, that 100% of the collected waste is subjected to treatment or adequate confinement in accordance to local and federal environmental regulations.
The Faculty of Chemical Sciences since 1994 established a hazardous waste management plan that allowed it to obtain the Environmental Quality Certificate granted by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (PROFEPA) during the period from 2010 to 2012 and that It has been endorsed for three consecutive periods 2012-2014, 2014-2016 and 2016-2018.
On the other hand, there are other kinds of hazardous waste generated both in homes and in work centers; like expired medicines. According to current environmental legislation, this hazardous waste is classified as, so its disposed must be done through companies authorized by federal agencies (SEMARNAT and SCT).
The Ministry of Health through its Federal Commission against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) in conjunction with the Undersecretary of Regulation and Health Promotion of the Secretariat of Health of Nuevo Leon implemented the program of collection and disposal of expired medicines to reduce the risks of intoxication of people and damage to the environment.
In this program, the drugs are collected in different collection centers located across the State, such as pharmacies or health centers; then, medicaments are subjected to physical crushing processes and later sent to their final disposition. In order to support the collection and proper disposal of this type of waste, the UANL has several containers located in the University Pharmacy “Q.F.B. Emilia Vásquez Farías “of the Faculty of Chemical Sciences; in the Medical Services Unit located on the Health Sciences campus; and in the Medical Technical School.
In these sites, expired medications are deposited by the university community and the general public, after which they are collected by personnel from the Ministry of Health, who is in charge of taking them to a collection center where they are separated from their primary packaging and then classified by therapeutic group and pharmaceutical form, to be later taken to final disposal. In the period from January 2016 to June 2017, 1,211 kg of expired medications were collected from the collection centers located in the university facilities.