A Long Way to Go in Bio-medical Waste Management
Despite having adequate
regulatory mechanisms, bio-medical waste is openly dumped in garbage
containers and drains in Hubli-Dharwad. Flouting of rules brazenly by hospitals
and clinics is exposing the public to hazardous waste, which in turn is posing
serious threat to public health.
Recently, an amputated leg
was found on the road. Burning of solid medical waste near a hospital and
disposing of other medicines in an open site show how badly bio-medical waste
is being managed in the twin cities.
According to sources in the
Karnataka Pollution Control Board (KPCB), 476 healthcare facilities have
registered with the Board. Of these, there are 48 government hospitals, two
medical college hospitals, 108 veterinary hospitals, 14 Ayush and 1,304 private
Except veterinary and
government hospitals in rural areas, who use deep burial pits to dispose waste,
all are bound to follow the Bio Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules
However, KPCB district
environment officer Vijay Kumar told Express that cases of mixing bio-medical
waste with solid waste are still detected.
“As the number of health
care units is more, it would be difficult to go and check each unit. But,
incidents of flouting regulatory measures have certainly reduced in the last
few years,” he said.
The KPCB has authorised
Hubli-Dharwad Bio-Medical Waste Treatment (HDBMWT) facility to collect and
treat bio-medical waste at a common treatment plant in Tarihal Industrial Area,
on the outskirts of the city.
The agency collects around
2,000 kg of solid bio-medical waste daily in five closed container vehicles
from all registered hospitals and clinics in Hubli-Dharwad. And liquid waste
is disinfected at hospitals.
Staff crunch is another
issue and agencies involved in waste management often pass the buck. In fact,
the KPCB district office has only one environment officer.
Kumar, however, said,
“Since April, we have issued notices to 30 hospitals/clinics for not abiding by
the rule. If we monitor 10 big hospitals regularly, most of the problem is
addressed.” Most of the units erred in segregation and they mixed municipal
waste with bio-medical waste, while handing it over to collecting agencies, he
Of seven major hospitals,
KIMS is the main source of bio-medical waste in the twin cities (300 kg). KIMS
Director, Dr Vasanta Kamat, said, utmost care is taken to segregate
The hospital has a sewage
treatment facility where liquid bio-medical waste is treated. Despite the
claims by the director, burning of bio-medical waste was reported on the KIMS
HDMC Pourakarmikara Sangha
president Gangadhar Tagargunti said pourakarmikas are forced to lift
bio-medical waste dumped at garbage containers and open areas in the city. “Our
members are not averse to lift it, but they should be offered masks, hand
gloves, gum boots and other safety equipment,” he said.
Only 25 per cent
The bio-medical waste not
segregated at source is a headache, said HDBMWT facility manager Riaz M G. Only
25 per cent of the waste they collect is segregated, he added. On disposing
waste, Riaz said, “Our plant has a capacity to burn 100 kg per hour. Plastic
waste is washed with acid and crushed to power for recycling. All measures are
taken to protect the environment and the facility is regularly tested by the
Pollution Control Board.”