UNIDO project on biomedical waste in Punjab fails to take off

A high-profile project launched by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) for reduction of toxic gases emanating from burning of tonnes of biomedical waste from Punjab hospitals has failed to materialise.


As many as 28 hospitals from across the state were selected as models where reduction of biomedical waste was supposed to be started.

The project, ‘Environmentally Sound Management of Medical Wastes’, was launched in Punjab on January 15, 2013.

The project was the result of ratification of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) by India on January 13, 2006 for which the country was required to take up environmentally sound management of POPs, including those generated from incineration of biomedical waste.

Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) was made the contractor of the project to assist the select 28 hospitals to deal with the biomedical waste.

UNIDO was supposed to provide Rs 2 crore per year for five years (total of Rs 10 crore) to the PPCB to take up the project. So far the PPCB has received only Rs 25 lakh from UNIDO.

PPCB executive engineer Tej want Singh Gill, who is coordinator of the project in Punjab, said the project was based on promotion of nonburn technology in hospitals so that the toxic gases that comprised carcino gens could be reduced.

“There are hassles from the side of UNIDO in the formation of the technical committee for Punjab. They are not appointing a technical officer,” said Gill.

He said the PPCB had already conducted a survey of all 28 hospitals and an action plan was also made.

“There are three categories of hospitals -- large, medium and small hospitals. These 28 hospitals spread in almost all districts of Punjab comprise these cate gories,” said Gill.

Ludhiana, which has six of the 28 hospitals, has been selected as model district for implementation of the project.

 

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