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Glare on hospitals flouting waste management norms


GUWAHATI, Dec 28 - Two days after open dumping of hazardous biomedical waste in the capital city came to light, more worrying facts which pose a threat to public health have unfolded.

Of the 472 registered healthcare facilities in the city, only around 230 are in the roster of the only authorized medical waste treatment facility in the city. Among them, only 91 healthcare facilities have submitted their annual reports and obtained authorization from Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) on compliance of the Bio Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016.

In absence of an inventory, the PCBA is unable to estimate how much bio-medical waste is generated in the city. Also, none of the healthcare facilities in the city have so far implemented the barcoding system for disposal of waste, which can help keep tab on the system.

PCBA Chairman AM Singh, who reviewed the biomedical waste management system in the State last evening with representatives from various hospitals, admitted that the situation was not �satisfactory�.

The PCBA has now begun serving notices to healthcare facilities which have failed to submit their annual reports on waste management system. It is learnt that some facilities neither have captive waste treatment facilities nor have they tied up with the only common treatment facility, which is located at Panikhaiti.

Besides, the PCBA is also in the process of developing a daily-basis inventory which will help identify any leakage in future.

�We have also decided to slap penalty in the form of environmental compensation on hospitals flouting the norms. Surprise inspections would begin shortly,� the PCBA Chairman told The Assam Tribune.

On Wednesday, over three tonnes of hazardous biomedical waste was found dumped in the open in a temporary shed in the foothills of Hatisila in blatant violation of public and environmental health regulations.

Some prescriptions of GMCH were also found from in the waste, which included vials, IV sets, saline bottles, syringes, etc. Open burning of the waste at the site was observed by a PCBA team.

It is also learnt that those involved in the illegal dumping used to segregate the plastic and glass from the waste and then sell it off at scrap depots in the city, posing serious health hazards.

The common waste treatment facility at Panikhaiti handles around 1.8 tonnes of medical waste daily.

PCBA sources said the common facility will be asked to submit records of waste collected by it in the last one month from different healthcare centres, which will then be matched with the average daily generation to detect unauthorized disposal of waste.

Meanwhile, the government has approved three more common treatment facilities � one in Upper Assam, one in North Bank and another in Barak Valley. Another such facility may also come up here in the city.

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