Maha focuses on small clinics to treat bio-medical waste

In August, last year, HT had reported how the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had rapped the state environment department and MPCB for unsafe disposal of bio-medical waste.

mumbai Updated: Mar 18, 2018 01:10 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai news,Maharashtra news,MPCB
Details from the Union health ministry showed bio-medical waste generated in the state increased by 17% between 2014 and 2015.(HT File (Representational Image))

As the state recorded a 14% rise in bio-medical waste generated between 2014 and 2016, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has decided to rope in general practitioners and small clinics to ensure they treat their daily bio-medical waste safely.

Details from the Union health ministry showed bio-medical waste generated in the state increased by 17% between 2014 and 2015. Mumbai recorded the highest amount of bio-medical waste in the state during the same time, according to MPCB. The numbers have steadily increased despite the state having 34 bio-medical waste treatment facilities – the highest in India.

In August, last year, HT had reported how the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had rapped the state environment department and MPCB for unsafe disposal of bio-medical waste.

“Earlier general practitioners from clinics were exempted. Now we are concentrating on covering them with a state-wide survey,” said Amar Supate, principal scientific officer and head of bio-medical waste management, MPCB. “We have started a pilot project at Nashik, where small clinics have already started collection and segregation at source. By the end of 2019, this model will be replicated across Maharashtra,” said Supate. The Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 has enhanced the network of HCFs ensuring biomedical waste is disposed properly, said MPCB officials. According to MPCB, there are 52,704 HCFs in Maharashtra, of which 20,225 (bedded) generate 57,773kg bio-medical waste per day, 32,479 (non-bedded) generate 13,667kg per day, and the remaining small clinics and medical centres generate 71kg per day.

Hospital waste has three categories – 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 recyclers – said Supate.

“The new rules also include ayurvedic and homeopathic hospitals. Households and clinics that don’t segregate this waste at source are a cause for concern. We don’t want to increase treatment centres because they will become hotspots for infections if mixed waste is brought to them,” said Supate.

Swacch Bharat national expert and member of the committee that drafted the Municipal Solid Waste Management rules, Almitra Patel said small clinics are aware of the new rules but tend not to dispose waste safely since they are unfairly charged for it. “Small clinics need to be encouraged to tie up with larger hospitals in their vicinity, submit their waste to them, and pay a nominal fee.”

KP Niyati, member of various environment impact assessment committees of the Union environment ministry said,“It is not as if people are falling more ill in the state. Mumbai is a mecca of medical tourism. The figures suggest that Maharashtra has better documentation of biomedical waste produced.”

First Published: Mar 18, 2018 01:10 IST