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Most hospitals not following rules on biomedical waste: Pollution board

Bar coding of biomedical waste, experts explained, is necessary to track the movement of hazardous toxic waste to quantify the amount generated by a particular HFC, and also to identify violators in case of mishandling.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 15, 2019 04:28 IST
Prayag Arora-Desai
Prayag Arora-Desai
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
biomedical waste,Haryana State Pollution Control Board,HSPCB
Most healthcare facilities (HFCs) in the city are not yet following the mandatory procedure of bar coding their biomedical waste.(HT photo)

Despite the Union environment ministry extending its deadline for compliance with new biomedical waste handling rules till March 27, 2019, and routine notices being issued by the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB),most healthcare facilities (HFCs) in the city are not yet following the mandatory procedure of bar coding their biomedical waste, HSPCB officials confirmed on Friday.

Bar coding of biomedical waste, experts explained, is necessary to track the movement of hazardous toxic waste to quantify the amount generated by a particular HFC, and also to identify violators in case of mishandling. This procedure was made mandatory under the Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 (BMWM).

“When the BMWM Rules were revised in 2018, the deadline was extended for a year. However, only a small section of the 408 health-care facilities in our jurisdiction have begun bar coding their waste,” said Kuldeep Singh, regional officer, HSPCB (Gurugram). The city produces an average of 4,538 kilograms of hazardous medical waste every day.

Hindustan Times spoke to representatives of seven major hospitals in the city, including Civil Hospital in Sector 10, and found that only two of them have implemented the bar coding system. Rashmi Khanna, head of housekeeping at Medanta Hospital, said, “We implemented the bar coding system as far back as 2017.” A spokesperson at Max HealthCare also confirmed that they had implemented the bar coding system in April 2017.

Spokespersons from other hospitals, requesting anonymity, admitted that there has been an unwarranted delay, and attributed it to ongoing negotiations with Vulcan Waste Management, the HSPCB’s concessionaire for BMWM in Gurugram and Rewari. Manish Rathi, deputy medical superintendent at Civil Hospital, on the other hand, said, “The delay is mainly due to administrative lag, but within the next one month, we will become compliant with the rules.”

Vikas Gehlot, director of Vulcan Waste Management, said that the company had fully equipped themselves with the requisite technology to scan and collect data using the barcode system about six months ago. As for financial negotiations, Gehlot said that they were ongoing, but that expediting them was up to the HFCs.

First Published: Jun 15, 2019 04:28 IST