CHENNAI: In a major decision, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) is likely to take some drastic measures against ‘polluting’ private hospitals, which are allegedly disposing of ‘potentially infectious’ bio-medical waste unscientifically.
Only a week ago, Dr MGR Educational University has been penalised to a tune of `40 lakh by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for operating without a valid consent from the TNPCB for 26 years and discharging untreated sewage into the Cooum. Now, hundreds of private hospitals in Chennai have come under scanner for violating the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998.
Sources told Express that the TNPCB would be proposing certain measures against the violating private hospitals and making submission before the NGT at the next hearing scheduled for April 5.
The Pollution Board has attracted a lot of flak from the green tribunal when it initially gave a clean chit to all hospitals and sanctioned consent to around 200 private hospitals in a record time of 20 days in January this year.
According to the TNPCB data submitted in the first week of January, out of 397 private hospitals in Chennai, only 133 were operating with valid consent.
However, by end of this month, the board made a submission that there were 351 hospitals out of which 333 have consent.
Now, the tribunal has questioned the hurry in which the board has issued consent to these hospitals and ordered the Pollution Board to submit a detailed report on the number of private hospitals, date of their commencement and date of approval of consent.
The NGT Bench had said at the previous hearing that it would invoke ‘polluter pays’ principle against those hospitals, which were operating illegally and going scot-free.
The tribunal has also directed the TNPCB to compile information from two authorised common facilities - M/s Tamil Nadu Waste Management Ltd in Kinnar village in Kancheepuram and M/s G.J. Multiclave India (P) Ltd at Thenmelpakkam village in Chengalpattu - on how much of bio-medical waste is being brought into each hospital in Chennai, both government and private.
The original petitioner in the case Jawaharlal Shanmugam alleged that there are several hospitals in Chennai and neighbouring districts which don’t have sewer connections and lot of pilferage is happening.
“Clearly, the hospitals have flawed the numbers. The anatomical waste alone generated in these hospitals in Chennai would weigh a few tonnes considering the number of amputations done every day in accident cases,” the petitioner stated.