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The Ministry of Sustainability through the Directorate of Environmental Management and Operational Safety (DGASO) is working on the implementation of a program for the management and disposal of hazardous waste generated in all its campuses, with the objective of complying with the applicable legal provisions; This program consists of classifying, storing and managing the transportation 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).

According to the General Law for the Prevention and Integral Management of Waste (LGPGIR), a hazardous waste (RP) is a material or product whose owner or holder discards and is in solid or semi-solid state, liquid or gas contained in containers or deposits, and is capable of being valued or requiring to be subjected to treatment or final disposal, and also contains at least one of the CRETIB characteristics (Corrosive, Reactive, Explosive, Toxic, Flammable, Biological-infectious).

Due to this situation, the following classification and collection procedures for hazardous waste were distributed in all the UANL units, with the aim of being used for the elaboration of the “Manual for the environmentally appropriate management of waste in each of the dependencies that generate this type of waste.

Other consultation tools that provide official information for the identification, storage and transport of this type of waste are the Official Mexican Standards, such as those cited below:

Currently the university units mentioned below, which are the ones that generate the most hazardous waste, have adopted in their daily activities the procedures that were provided to classify and collect this type of waste:

  • Faculty of Chemical Sciences
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Nursing School
  • Faculty of veterinary medicine and zootechnics
  • School of Public Health and Nutrition
  • Agronomy faculty
  • Medical Technical School
  • University Health Center
  • Center for Research and Development in Health Sciences
  • Center for Innovation, Research and Development in Engineering and Technology
  • UANL Medical Services

During 2018, adequate management and disposal of a total of 168.39 tons of hazardous waste was made, of which 124.30 tons corresponded to infectious biological hazardous waste (RPBI) and 44.09 tons to hazardous waste of chemical origin (of which 134.2 kg correspond to expired medications).

Biological-infectious hazardous waste (RPBIs)

NOM-087- SEMARNAT- SSA1- 2002 defines bio-infectious hazardous waste (RPBI’s) as those materials generated during health care services that contain biological-infectious agents and can cause harmful effects on health and the environment, as well classifies them in blood, cultures and strains of infectious agents, pathological, non-anatomical residues and sharp objects.

In 2018, 124.30 tons of RPBIs were generated in the aforementioned units, where 74% corresponds to non-anatomical waste (disposable gloves, soaked or dripping blood material and disposable containers containing liquid blood), as shown in the graph.

Gráfica 1. Caracterización de RPBI período 2018

In the case of hazardous wastes of chemical origin in the same period, 44.09 tons were generated, of which 11.22 tons corresponded to solid waste (Graph 2) and 32.87 tons of liquid waste (Graph 3).

Graph 2. Solid RP characterization period 2018

Graph 3. Characterization of liquid RP period 2018

The transfer and adequate confinement of this type of waste is carried out by companies duly accredited before the corresponding authorities. Thus, that 100% of these are subjected to treatment or confinement as established in current environmental regulations.

Another important point in waste management is to obtain registration as a generator of PR before SEMARNAT, based on the average estimate of hazardous waste generated in a year, placing in the first instance the category in which they are (micro, small or large generator), the above with the objective of managing their PR according to current environmental legislation.

During the period January 2017 to June 2018, 16 university departments carried out the procedures before this federal agency and obtained their Environmental Registration Number (NRA) with the support and advice of the DGASO to carry out said procedure.

It should be noted that small and large generators have an obligation to have a temporary warehouse of hazardous waste that meets the following technical specifications: natural or artificial ventilation, explosion-proof lighting, gutters and pit for spill containment, among others , in accordance with the regulations of the General Law for the Prevention and Integral Management of Waste (RLGPGIR).

The Faculty of Chemical Sciences since 1994 successfully established a hazardous waste management plan, which has made it worthy of receiving the Environmental Quality Certificate granted by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Environment (PROFEPA) (2010-2012) and which has been endorsed for four consecutive periods (2012-2014, 2014-2016, 2016-2018 and 2018-2020).

 

On the other hand, there are other types of hazardous waste that are generated in homes, as well as in workplaces, and are expired medications. In accordance with current environmental legislation, this waste is classified as hazardous, so its disposal must be made through companies authorized by competent federal agencies (SEMARNAT and SCT), since these companies have the equipment and qualified personnel to apply the necessary security measures to carry out its transport, treatment and / or final disposal.

Currently, the program for the collection of expired medicines implemented by the Ministry of Health through the Federal Commission against Health Risks (COFEPRIS) together with the Undersecretary for Health Regulation and Development of the Ministry of Health of Nuevo León aims to reduce risks of intoxication of people and damage to the environment. In this program, medications are deposited in containers located in different collection centers such as pharmacies or health centers. Once collected, they are subjected to physical crushing processes and later sent to final destination.

In order to support the collection and proper disposal of this type of waste, UANL has several containers located in the University Pharmacy “Q.F.B. Emilia Vásquez Farías” of the Faculty of Chemical Sciences, the Medical Services Unit located on the Health Sciences campus and the Medical Technical School. The expired medicines are deposited by the university community and the general public in said containers, from where they are collected by personnel of the Ministry of Health, who is responsible for taking them to a collection center where they are separated from their primary container and then classified by therapeutic group and pharmaceutical form, to be subsequently made available to an authorized provider.

In 2018, 134.2 kg of expired medicines were collected from the collection centers located in the university units.