Punjab Pollution Control Board seizes truck carrying biomedical waste from Fortis hospital
The team went to Chandigarh along with two members of the Chandigarh Pollution Control Board, and staff from Fortis was also asked to join them.Updated: Feb 02, 2018 23:23 IST
In a major crackdown on reckless dumping of biomedical waste, officials of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Mohali, on Friday seized a pick-up truck transporting untreated biomedical waste from Fortis Hospital, Mohali, to a scrap dealer in Daddu Majra Colony, Chandigarh.
As per the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, untreated biomedical waste is to be transported only in vehicles authorised for the purpose by a competent authority as specified by the government.
PPCB sub-divisional officer Vijay Kumar said acting on a tip, they laid a naka near YPS Chowk in Mohali, and stopped a Tata 407 pick-up truck. On searching the vehicle, they found several green bags that were concealing red bags containing contaminated biomedical waste.
Kumar said the vehicle driver shared the waste was picked up from Fortis Hospital and he was on his way to dump it at a scrap dealer’s shop in Daddu Majra Colony.
Accompanied by two members of the Chandigarh Pollution Control Board, the PPCB team raided the shop and found a huge quantity of untreated biomedical waste from Fortis Hospital.
On opening the bags, the team discovered contaminated disposable waste, including bottles, intravenous tubes, catheters, urine bags, syringes (without needles), vaccutainers and gloves in them.
The raiding team immediately sent the waste to be properly disposed of in an incinerator at the biomedical facility in Baliali village, SAS Nagar.
Environment engineer Lavneet Dubey said as per rules, biomedical waste must be disposed of in an incinerator. “Instead, Fortis was sending its waste to a junk dealer. Worse, the contaminated waste was concealed in green bags to make it appear as green waste,” he added.
Dubey said the case had been forwarded to PPCB chairman Kahan Singh Pannu for further action under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
In a statement issued later in the day, Fortis’ official spokesperson said, “Fortis Hospital Mohali has always maintained the highest standards of waste disposal procedures and have been credited with excellent credentials by the governmental agencies for the same.”
“Fortis Hospital Mohali had no knowledge pertaining to this incident. In fact, upon learning about the same a police complaint has been lodged requesting investigation in the matter and Fortis Hospital Mohali will be offering complete cooperation with the police,” the statement further read.
Fortis Hospital, Mohali, facility director Abhijeet Singh later lodged a complaint against unidentified people for smuggling out waste from the hospital premises.
Phase 8 station house officer (SHO) Rajiv Kumar said they had filed a daily diary report (DDR) on the hospital’s complaint, and initiated investigation.
Santosh Kumar, chief conservator of forests, UT, said, “We accompanied the PPCB team for the raid, but the matter lies in their purview. Junk dealers in the colony often deal in medical waste. The sub-divisional magistrate was previously informed about it, but action is awaited.”
NOT A FIRST
Earlier on August 19, 2017, the Punjab Pollution Control Board had recovered two tonnes of biomedical waste, including used syringes, vials, gloves, glucose bottles and other contaminated hospital waste, from a Dhanas-based scrap-dealer.
The waste was traced to Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. A panel constituted to inspect the matter did not rule out the possibility of pilferage waste from the premier institution.
An FIR was registered, and a sanitation worker was suspended after his identity card was found in the waste.
The panel, formed by PGIMER director Dr Jagat Ram, had made several suggestions to keep a check on such thefts. “We have taken some measures, including installing CCTV cameras and increasing the height of the boundary wall of the two waste collection centres, besides deployment of security guards,” he said on Friday.
(Update: The statement from Fortis Hospital, Mohali has been added to the story)