Leading private hospitals like the Nanavati Hospital, Lilavati Hospital and Hinduja Hospital have been issued notices by the Bombay High Court asking them to explain the procedure followed by them to dispose off bio-medical waste generated by them.
While hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Consumer Welfare Association alleging negligence on the part of the public and private hospitals while disposing Bio-Medical Waste (BMW) which causes severe health hazard to not only the patients but also to their relatives, a division bench of acting Chief Justice HL Gokhale and Justice VM Kanade on Wednesday directed the hospitals to file their affidavit in two weeks explaining the method used by them.
Rajiv Chavan, counsel for the petitioners pointed out to the court that of the seven major hospitals in the city, of which three hospitals are private – NAnavati Hospital in Vile Parle, Lilavati Hospital in Bandra and Hinduja Hospital in Mahim- do not have shredders or autoclaves to dispose off the BMW.
Sadhana M., counsel for the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) that have already issued notices to these hospitals on January 11, 2007 asking them details about the methods used by them to dispose BMW. “The hospitals have sent their reply to the MPCB office,” said Sadhana.
These hospitals have a contract with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to dispose off the waste. The BMC contractor collects the waste from these hospitals.
The BMC collects BMW from various hospitals across the city and takes it to Taloja near Navi Mumbai for disposing the waste. The BMC has one functioning incinerator there. “However, carrying BMW all the way there could be hazardous if its not carried in proper containers,” argued Chavan.
Majority of the hospitals use the Common Treatment Plant provided by the BMC. However, a hospital has to be member of the BMC scheme to use the Common Treatment Plant, said Chavan.
Following the earlier HC order, the MPCB had conducted a survey in 366 public hospitals in Maharashtra. Sadhana told the court that 204 hospitals are following the norms prescribed in the Bio-Medical Waste Rules, 1998. However, the remaining 162 which are not following the rules have been issued notices by the board.
There are two ways of disposing bio-medical waste – disposal through incineration or deep burial pit. According to BMW rules, township or rural area having population more than 5 lakh cannot dispose bio-medical waste by deep burial system as it could pose severe health hazard to the citizens residing in the area.
The PIL filed in 2005 seeks that the MPCB be directed to formulate guidelines for the treatment of BMW which should be strictly adhered to by the corporation.
Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, be directed to construct and install incinerators in all hospitals/ nursing homes with 50 beds and above under their administrative control.