Bhopal struggles to deal with biomedical waste disposal

  • M Poornima, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Jun 05, 2015 19:00 IST

Even as hospitals and nursing homes have come up in every nook and corner of the city, only one incinerator is available for the disposal of all biomedical waste in Bhopal.

The only incinerator set up in the state capital in over 13 years belongs to a private agency, Bhopal Incinerator Limited, and it handles biomedical waste from all government as well as private nursing homes.

As per norms, one incinerator per 10,000 beds is necessary for hospitals. In the past 10 years, the number of beds in government and private hospitals has grown to over 9,000 in the state capital, with more than 4,000 beds added in government hospitals alone, including district hospitals, community health centres, primary health centre and civil hospitals.

Additionally, there are five medical colleges with a minimum capacity of 750 beds.

All these medical colleges, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhopal, rely on Bhopal Incinerator Limited for their biomedical disposal as well.

“I agree there is a need of another incinerator in Bhopal as the beds registered under Bhopal Incinerator Limited has reached (over) 9,500. A new incinerator may be introduced in (the) next six months in the city. It’s tough to manage the waste of all the nursing homes and hospitals of the city,” said Dr Ajay Goenka of Bhopal Incinerator Limited.

Despite the strict norms of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) and incidences of improper waste disposal are rampant.

“In our locality’s dustbin, syringes and other hospital waste is thrown in the open. Improper management of healthcare wastes from hospitals, clinics and other facilities pose occupational and public health risks to patients, health workers, waste handlers and general public. It may also lead to contamination of air, water and soil which may affect all forms of life,” said Milan Pandey, 42, a resident of Shahpura area.

When contacted, Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board chairman NP Shukla said the available incinerator covers hospitals within a 150 km radius. We have started a facility known as CBWTS in nearby district to reduce the pressure on the incinerator. He said they continue to receive complaints of improper disposal of medical waste by hospitals. For this, a sensitization programme to make hospital staff aware about proper disposal of biomedical waste was also run by pollution control board, he said.

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