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Biomedical waste dumped at Dadar beach in Mumbai; who threw it?

Residents of the area, who have been cleaning the beach recently, have reported the presence of hazardous medical waste being dumped on the beach.

mumbai Updated: Apr 26, 2018 10:59 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,biomedical waste,dadar beach
The clean-up volunteers have found more than 125 syringes in the past month at Dadar beach. (HT File )

People taking a stroll on Dadar beach may have to watch their step as the sand is strewn with used needles, syringes, cotton swabs and other biomedical waste.

Residents of the area, who have been cleaning the beach recently, have reported the presence of hazardous medical waste being dumped on the beach.

They are planning to ask the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the police to increase surveillance on the beach to prevent the dumping of medical waste that can be a source of infection.

Waste from hospitals, nursing homes, blood banks and veterinary institutions, including used syringes, bandages, amputated body parts and other human and animal bio-waste generated during medical treatment and research are categorised as biomedical waste.

While the anatomical waste has to be incinerated, plastic waste is shredded and sent to recyclers, and sharp waste such as syringes, surgical equipment, etc. are cleaned, disinfected, dismantled and sent to metal waste recycler.

A resident of the area Chinu Kataria, who is involved in beach cleanup every Sunday, claimed that the lack of police security and street lights have ensured a lacklustre surveillance in the area.

“Our 20-25 volunteers clean the beach area starting from Kirti College to Prabhadevi and we get a lot of injections, needles, gloves, swabs and other material. We have complained to the local authorities about the lack of surveillance but they merely come for ten minutes in the uniform, take a round of the beach and leave,” said Kataria.

Another group, spearheaded by Jay Shringarpure, which cleans the third exit of the beach has been constantly locating over 100-125 used syringes since a month.

“Over 70-80 children play in this area at any point, which makes the scattered syringes a major health hazard. Only last Sunday, we found an entire bag full of biomedical waste including gloves, oxygen masks, injections and needles,” said Shringarpure.

The scattered and washed ashore biomedical waste is also putting the clean-up volunteers at risk as they are clueless about the safety guidelines or disposal norms. Moreover, infectious diseases experts said that apart from the needle prick, which can cause deadly infections like HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, other biomedical waste, which has come in close contact with patients bodily fluids, can cause number of other bacterial infections.

“Every healthcare provider has a process of discarding and crushing the needles. If volunteers locate uncrushed needles, it indicates the waste hasn’t gone through the safe disposal channel of sterilisation,” said infectious diseases expert, Dr Om Srivastava.

He added, “Apart from the infections like Hep B, C and HIV, other bacterial infections like staphylococcus (can cause food poisoning resulting in nausea, vomiting and stomach ache) and streptococcal (sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash, low blood pressure, and tissue destruction and number of other infections) spread due to body fluids present on the biomedical waste. It’s risky for anybody who comes in close contact of the waste.”

First Published: Apr 26, 2018 10:59 IST