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DANGEROUS DISPOSAL

india Updated: Jul 02, 2006 01:24 IST
Highlight Story

An IIM-led team has found that bio-medical waste disposal methods have reached dangerous proportions with the trash being thrown in the Gomti or in the open.

The business of disposal of hospital waste has gone to the dogs in Gorakhpur. In both male and female government hospitals stray dogs feast on human parts that are dumped along with bio-medical waste at the garbage dump yards located on the premises of the hospitals.

AND IN Lucknow several rounds of meetings have been held by the Health Department for disposal of bio-medical waste released by government and private hospitals. The managements of all hospitals have been directed to ensure that Bio-Medical Waste Rules were strictly followed during disposal of waste.

But a team of volunteers and environmentalists, led by Prof D S Sengar of the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, were shocked to find that bio-medical waste of government hospitals and nursing homes were being dumped in the Gomti or at places where the Lucknow Municipal Corporation dumped garbage, posing a risk to the vulnerable.

IIM-L is organising a workshop on legal awareness and youth participation in environment compliance and enforcement. On Saturday the volunteers of various social organisations, participating in the workshop, planned to check how the government and private hospitals were disposing of bio-medical waste.

Four teams conducted surprise checks at two government hospitals — KGMU and Balrampur — and two private hospitals — Vivekanand Polyclinic and Mayo — early in the morning.

At KGMU the team members were aghast to see that rather than collecting the waste in separate containers the safai karamchari was collecting it in a plastic bucket. Waste was loaded on a trolley and taken to an open garbage dump yard. There rag-pickers and stray animals jostled with each other to have their pick.

The condition was no different at Queen Mary’s Hospital. Here too hospital waste was dumped in the open without caring for the harmful impact it would have on human beings. As the team reached the site, a tractor moved inside the hospital and a safai karamchari quickly loaded the waste on the trolley. As the tractor moved out of the university campus the volunteers tracked it and found that after crossing Rumi Gate it moved towards the Gomti and stopped near Kudiya Ghat.

The driver loosened the clips of the trolley and slowly dumped the bio-medical waste, including empty IV fluid bags, needles, catheters, cotton swabs, bandages and human body parts into the river. Some waste was left on the bank of the river. Here too rag-pickers pounced on the waste and started collecting the needles and fluid bags. They told the volunteers that plastic and fluid bags were taken to recycling factories in Motijheel.

The Queen Mary staff told the volunteers that the incinerator installed on the premises of the hospital was a mere showpiece. All waste was being disposed of “merely on paper”. A senior KGMU doctor informed that another incinerator would be installed soon.

At Balrampur hospital, too, the waste was dumped in the open and later loaded on a tractor-trolley for disposal at a garbage dump yard of LMC. Though the hospital has an incinerator, it functions only twice a week. The waste is usually burned in the open.

Garbage was littered all over the wards in the Dufferin hospital. The waste containers were clean and shining since no bio-medical waste was deposited in it but dumped in the open. In all the government hospitals the safai karamcharis were seen picking bio-medical waste with bare hands. In comparison to the government hospitals, the private hospitals — Mayo and Vivekanand Polyclinic — were found clean but they lacked effective system for safe disposal of the waste.

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