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The National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) Southern Bench has directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to initiate immediate action, including launching of prosecution against 21 hospitals, after the board found that these hospitals have “committed gross violations” of Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998.
What is Biomedical waste
- Biomedical waste comprises
- human & animal anatomical waste,
- treatment apparatus likeneedles, syringes and
- other materials used in health care facilities in the process of treatment and research.
- This waste is generated during diagnosis, treatment or immunisation in hospitals, nursing homes, pathological laboratories, blood bank, etc.
- Total bio-medical waste generation in the country is 484 TPD from 1,68,869 healthcare facilities (HCF), out of which 447 TPD is treated.
- Scientific disposal of Biomedical Waste through segregation, collection and treatment in an environmentally sound manner minimises the adverse impact on health workers and on the environment. The hospitals are required to put in place the mechanisms for effective disposal either directly or through common biomedical waste treatment and disposal facilities.
- The hospitals servicing 1000 patients or more per month are required to obtain authorisation and segregate biomedical waste in to 10 categories, pack five colour backs for disposal as per Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998.
- There are 198 common bio-medical waste treatment facilities (CBMWF) in operation and 28 are under construction. 21,870 HCFs have their own treatment facilities and 1,31,837 HCFs are using the CBMWFs.
- The quantum of waste generated in India is estimated to be 1-2 kg per bed per day in a hospital and 600 gm per day per bed in a clinic. 85% of the hospital waste is non-hazardous, 15% is infectious/hazardous. Mixing of hazardous results in to contamination and makes the entire waste hazardous. Hence there is necessity to segregate and treat.
- Improper disposal increases risk of infection; encourages recycling of prohibited disposables and disposed drugs; and develops resistant microorganisms.
- The new bio-medical waste management rules has hence been notified to efficiently manage the generated biowaste in the country.
The new BMW Management Rules, 2016
- These rules apply to all persons who generate, collect, receive, store, transport, treat, dispose, or handle bio-medical waste in any form
Bio-medical waste classified in to 4 categories based on treatment options.
Untreated human anatomical waste, animal anatomical waste, soiled waste and, biotechnology waste shall not be stored beyond a period of forty–eight hours:
In case for any reason it becomes necessary to store such waste beyond such a period, the occupier shall take appropriate measures to ensure that the waste does not adversely affect human health and the environment and inform the SPCB along with the reasons.
Every occupier of an institution generating bio -medical waste which includes a hospital, nursing home, clinic, dispensary,veterinary institution, animal house, pathological laboratory,blood bank to take all steps to ensure that such waste is handled without any adverse effect to human health and the environment.
- Health care facilities (HCF) shall make a provision within the premises for
- a safe, ventilated and secured location for storage of segregated biomedical waste
- pre-treat the laboratory waste, microbiological waste, blood samples and blood bags through disinfection or sterilisation on-site in the manner as prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or National AIDs Control Organisation (NACO) guidelines and then send to the common bio-medical waste treatment facility for final disposal.
- phase out use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves and blood bags within two years from the date of notification of these rules
- provide training to all its health care workers and others involved in handling of bio medical waste at the time of induction and thereafter at least once every year
- immunise all its health care workers and others involved in handling of bio-medical waste for protection against diseases including Hepatitis B and Tetanus that are likely to be transmitted by handling of bio-medical waste,
- establish a Bar-Code System for bags or containers containing bio-medical waste to be sent out of the premises
- report major accidents including accidents caused by fire hazards, blasts during handling of bio-medical waste and the remedial action taken to SPCB
- existing incinerators shall achieve the standards for retention time in secondary chamber and Dioxin and Furans within two years from the date of this notification
- Common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facility
- The department dealing the allocation of land shall be responsible for providing suitable site for setting up of common biomedical waste treatment and disposal facility in the State Government
- Common facility shall ensure timely collection of bio-medical waste from the HCFs, assist the HCFs in conduct of training
No occupier shall establish on -site treatment and disposal facility, if a service of `common bio-medical waste treatment facility is available at a distance of seventy -five kilometer.
In cases where service of the common bio-medical waste treatment facility is not available, the Occupiers shall set up requisite bio medical waste treatment equipment like incinerator, autoclave or microwave,shredder prior to commencement of its operation, as per the authorisation given by the prescribed authority.
- Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change shall review the implementation of the rules in the country once in a year through the State Health Secretaries and CPCB.SPCBs
- State Government shall constitute District Level Monitoring Committee under the chairmanship of District Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner or Additional District Magistrate to monitor the compliance of the provisions of these rules in the health care facilities.
- The District Level Monitoring Committee shall submit its report once in six months to the State Advisory Committee, State Pollution Control Board for taking further necessary action.