Only about half of the medical establishments in the state capital are complying with the bio-medical waste disposal rules. The rest are blatantly flouting norms, according to a recent assessment by the health department.
The assessment says 1,726 medical establishments (clinics/nursing homes/pathology/ hospitals) are required to take bio-medical waste management services but only about 800 are availing of this service.
Then where is the bio-medical waste from other establishments going?
Down the drain, obviously, but the health bosses are trying to get a more accurate picture.
“All clinics that conduct services such as dressing and use injections for patients should have bio-medical waste management services to ensure the medical waste does not get mixed with regular garbage. This is necessary so that bio-medical waste that contains harmful bacteria is segregated,” said a senior health official.
The figure was calculated on the basis of the number of hospitals taking the bio-medical waste management services and the number of hospitals being run in the district.
The majority of hospitals using the bio-medical waste management services are located in the urban area, including government hospitals, but those on the outskirts have adopted other means of disposing the waste.
Doctors said this could be life-threatening because if biomedical waste got mixed with the municipal waste, it could spread infection. Even groundwater could become contaminated.
“Bio-medical waste is disposed of separately so that the infections it carries from patients do not affect healthy people. But if this waste is thrown in the open, it will spread infection,” said Dr PK Gupta, spokesperson of the Lucknow Association of Practicing Pathologists and Microbiologists.
He said bacteria multiplied fast in moisture, hence it was necessary to burn the bio-medical waste, which was done with the help of an incinerator.
The health department has now decided to check which hospitals are violating the bio-medical waste management norms and action will be taken them.