NEW DELHI: Hygiene, or rather lack of it, continues to irk patients and staff at Employee’s State Insurance Corporation Hospital (ESIC) in Okhla Phase I. Thousands of tonnes of waste collected from south Delhi is being dumped right behind the hospital.
There are three main landfill sites in the capital — Bhalswa (in the north), Ghazipur (in the east) and Okhla (in the south), all commissioned before the year 2000. The Okhla landfill site was declared exhausted in 2010.
A senior official in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) says the dumping of waste at the Okhla landfill has been stopped and remediation of the site is under process. The corporation official added the waste is now being dumped at another site — a piece of land from the Cement Corporation of India (CCI) —away from the hospital.
The Sunday Standard, in a visit to the area on Friday, witnessed trucks loaded with waste being carried from the gates of the Okhla landfill to the newly allocated site — adjacent to the original one, contradicting the claims of the official. The team also noted that the remediation drive was being carried out superficially.
A civil official at the Okhla landfill confirmed that the waste is now dumped at the 14-acre CCI land behind the landfill and remediation is under process, but it will take time.
"The landfill has been here before the hospital. Even if we consider tranferring the landfill site, where will we go?” he said.
About a 90-odd staff resides in the hospital quarters —with a wall separating the staff quarter building and the site. The rainwater stagnates and the stench intensifies during monsoon, say the hospital staff.
"When there is a heavy rain, the waste from the landfill enters the hospital premises. And the smell...it's intolerable," said a hospital staff person residing in the quarters who did not wish to be named.
He also claimed that Tughlabad (South) MLA Sahi Ram had also raised the issue many times with the government, but to our disappointment, the issue hasn't been fully resolved.
The Sunday Standard tried contacting the MLA, but he did not respond.
Ravinder Rawat, a patient who was discharged in early June from the ESIC Hospital, had written to the medical superintendent about was more vocal about the sanitation issues in and around the hospital.
Recalling the pungent smell he had experienced during his treatment at the hospital, Rawat said, "Instead of getting cured, the patients will catch up on new infections here."
The medical superintendent of the hospital, Deepika Govil, said the hospital had recently written to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to remove garbage from the site, only to be disappointed.
"This is a life-threatening hazard. We have a footfall of 2,000 patients every day plus the staff resides in the quarters. A number of lives are at stake because of the landfill," she added.
Officials at the hospital also pointed the SDMC trucks, heading to the landfill, at times block the way preventing ambulance from entering the hospital.