Waste not, want not: the anaesthesiologist and the environment
Keywords:climate change, GHG emissions, waste production, energy consumption, anaesthesia
Climate change has been described as the “defining issue of our time”. The wide-ranging effects of climate change are well documented. These effects include a change in weather patterns with more frequent extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity, loss of food security, political instability and declining health. Sub-Saharan Africa is especially vulnerable to climate change, even though the region only accounts for a fraction of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The healthcare sector contributes significantly to climate change. Within healthcare, the provision of anaesthesia is associated with a disproportional contribution to GHG emissions, waste production and energy consumption. Anaesthesia providers were identified as crucial role players in improving sustainability within medicine. A growing body of literature emphasises the importance of sustainable anaesthesia practices. Recommendations are regularly updated based on expanding knowledge. However, the subject matter is broad and often falls outside the sphere of anaesthesiology, making it challenging and time-consuming to identify information relevant to clinical practice. Furthermore, recommendations might differ depending on a multitude of circumstances. This review aims to simplify and summarise contemporary literature and recommendations, and present these concisely.
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