Fifty-four health care centres in Punjab are violating bio-medical waste norms, statewide raids by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) on Sunday revealed.
PPCB chairman KS Pannu said the raids were conducted as the board had strong apprehensions that several hospitals were not complying with the bio-medical waste (management and handling) rules, 1998. Reports indicated that many hospitals were either dumping their bio-medical waste along with the solid waste or throwing it away in an unhygienic manner, he said.
“Prominent violators are Tagore Hospital, Jalandhar; Amardeep Hospital, Amritsar; Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Treatment & Research Foundation, Ludhiana; Adesh Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Bathinda; and eight government hospitals,” Pannu said.
The board constituted 22 teams headed by senior environmental engineers for carrying out surprise checks. Each team was directed to inspect at least five hospitals, including a government civil hospital, a big private hospital and three small private hospitals.
A total of 108 health care facilities were inspected across the state, including 19 government hospitals and 19 big private hospitals, Pannu said. Eight government hospitals, 12 big private hospitals and 34 small private hospitals were found violating various bio-medical waste rules. Terming the outcome of the raids as unfortunate, Pannu rued that despite being so qualified and respected, doctors were not adhering to norms.
"We will scrutinise the detailed reports prepared by our teams and will soon issue show cause notices to the violators," the PPCB chairman said.
"The defaulters will face strict action in accordance with the law. We will adopt a zero-tolerance policy in this regard." All hospitals and health care facilities are required to segregate bio-medical waste into different containers or bags according to a prescribed colour code. These containers are to be transported from the premises of the hospital to bio-medical waste treatment facilities in one of the five centres in Mohali, Ludhiana, Pathankot, Amritsar and Bathinda, according to bio-medical waste disposal norms.
Notices issued Government hospitals that failed to meet bio-medical waste norms include Mata Kaushalya Government Hospital, Patiala; and civil hospitals in Faridkot, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Sangrur, Malerkotla, Hoshiarpur and Bathinda. PPCB chairman KS Pannu said senior medical officers or whosoever is in charge of these hospitals would be held responsible for the violations, and issued them notices.