Telangana: Does biomedical waste reach treatment plants?

Biomedical waste collected in colour coded bags leave the premises of healthcare facilities but do they reach the biomedical waste treatment facility or get sold midway?

Published: 20th March 2018 04:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th March 2018 08:35 AM   |  A+A-

(Illustration by Amit Bandre)

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Biomedical waste collected in colour coded bags leave the premises of healthcare facilities but do they reach the biomedical waste treatment facility or get sold midway? As of now, there is no way to ensure this as the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is taking its own time to issue rules and clarity on the issue. Last year, the Telangana state Pollution Control Board had found a dump of close to 10 tonnes of biomedical waste in an open plot in Quthbullapur. When Express inquired with some scrap dealers in the city, they were willing to sell biomedical waste like empty saline bottles. 

Bio-Medical Waste Management (BMW) Rules, 2016, mandated technique of having ‘bar-code’ on waste collection bags. As per the rules, responsibility to implement bar-code lies on healthcare facilities as well as on biomedical waste treatment facilities. However, as there is no clarity on how the bar-code system has to be implemented, it is not being implemented properly. 

Presently, biomedical waste treatment facilities are printing bar-coded bags that can be scanned only at their end but the bags are not being scanned at healthcare facilities, rendering the system useless for keeping track on how many bags leave the healthcare facility and end up at the treatment facility. 

Last year in August, CPCB issued guidelines separately on how the bar-code system has to be implemented but it is still in the draft stage, giving a reason to healthcare and biomedical waste treatment facilities to not implement it. 

When asked about it, a TSPCB official said, “Until CPCB finalises the rules on how to implement the bar code system, we will not be able to question the healthcare and biomedical waste treatment facilities on its implementation”. Existing laws do not have  teeth to take action against violators Environment(Protection) Act, 1986 that governs as to what action has to be taken against violators of BMW rules does not give enough teeth to the State Pollution Control Boards, said an official of the Telangana state Pollution Control Board (TSPCB) when asked as to why action is limited to usually issuing show-cause notices or issuing directions when violators of the rule are exposed. 

The official said, “The Act provides for prosecution of violators and does not have provision for directly penalising violators. For any action to be taken against violators, TSPCB will have to go to court, which would mean that an official will have to dedicatedly visit the court for hearings and it will also consume lot of time. With limited manpower TSPCB cannot afford to do it in every case of violation”, said the official.



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