How much trash do hospitals produce?

Illuminating answers to environmental questions.
Oct. 19 2010 10:03 AM

Wasting Syndrome

How much trash do hospitals produce?

(Continued from Page 1)

That's a number that should give the medical industry pause. After all, doctors have a particular reason to worry about climate change, which the World Health Organization has noted "will inevitably affect the basic requirements for maintaining health: clean air and water, sufficient food and adequate shelter." And air pollution from the health care sector's own electricity usage increases cases of asthma, respiratory illnesses, and emergency department visits to the tune of $600 million a year (PDF), according to a discussion draft paper published by the WHO and the organization Health Care Without Harm. To fulfill the Hippocratic Oath to "do no harm," hospitals need to keep the planet healthy along with their patients.

Is there an environmental quandary that's been keeping you up at night? Send it to ask.the.lantern@gmail.com, and check this space every Tuesday.

Like Slate on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.