NEW DELHI: Is biomedical waste generated during the treatment of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in India getting safely disposed of? At a time when the Centre has come up with a new set of guidelines for the same, analysis of violations reported against Healthcare Facilities (HCFs) or Common Biomedical Waste Treatment and Disposal Facilities (CBWTFs) present a worrying trend.
State Pollution Control Boards/Pollution Control Committees (SPCBs/PCCs) data for 2018 shows that about 27,427 instances of violations under Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016, were reported against Healthcare Facilities (HCFs) or Common Biomedical Waste Treatment and Disposal Facilities (CBWTFs).
Among defaulters, about 16,960 numbers of HCFs/CBWTFs were given show-cause notices. During the last 3 years, SPCBs/PCCs have issued about 46,442 notices to such.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), enforcement of the Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 continue to remain a cause of concern and the pollution watchdog came up with ‘Guidelines for Handling, Treatment, and Disposal of Waste Generated during Treatment/Diagnosis/ Quarantine of COVID-19 Patients’ on March 19 and revising it March 25 to ensure clarity and better compliance keeping in mind the nature of the disease.
There are 200 authorized CBWTFs in 28 States for environmentally safe disposal of biomedical waste.
Remaining seven states namely Goa, Andaman Nicobar, Arunachal Pradesh, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim do not have CBWTFs.
Apart from common facilities, there are 12,296 numbers of captive treatment and disposal facilities installed by Healthcare Facilities.