SRINAGAR: Flouting laid-down norms for segregation of bio-medical waste, the Government Medical College, Srinagar, has no proper mechanism for segregating the bio-waste produced in its laboratories.
As per norms mandatory for health institutions to follow, bio-medical waste must be segregated into four separate bags – coded yellow, red, blue and white – to prevent infections being transmitted to people who handle or come into contact with waste, particularly such as might be contaminated with diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C and tetanus.
However, after visiting the college laboratories, there were no colour-coded waste bins/bags to be found where bio-waste could have been kept before being disposed of.
Waste segregation is mandatory, the norms say, to isolate various kinds of hazardous waste, including human tissue, body fluids and parts and such contaminated medical products as used dressings, plaster casts and cotton swabs. Medicines like antibiotics and cytotoxic drugs, along with their glass or plastic ampoules, and used or discarded disinfectants are also regarded as hazardous, and are all to be disposed of in a yellow-coded bag to reduce the risks as well as costs of handling and disposal.
Wastes generated from disposable items such as tubing, bottles, intravenous tubes and sets, catheters, urine bags, syringes and gloves must be stored in bags coded red.
Waste sharps including needles, syringes with fixed needles, needles from needle tip cutter or burner, scalpels, blades, or any other contaminated metal object that may cause punctures and cuts are kept in a separate white or translucent bag.
Blue bags are meant to mark broken or discarded and contaminated glass, including medicine vials and ampoules, separate from those contaminated with cytotoxic wastes.
Insiders from the college told Kashmir Reader that due to a lack of resources and infrastructure, the college staff meant to supervise waste segregation and management do not adhere to set guidelines laid down by the administration.
The basic requirement, a girl student said, is for colour-coded segregation bags, which are nowhere available in the college laboratories. “Acquiring of infrastructure and other resources is so hectic here that sometimes we even pool in our pocket money to avoid an infection crisis,” she said.
A few years ago, the college had constituted an infection control committee, which had formed an ‘infection control team’ to monitor the college sanitary conditions and forward suggestions for cleanliness to the administration.
“That (the infection control team) reduced the dirtiness to a good extent. But the team vanished as if it had never existed. We don’t know what happened to it. If it is activated again, we will witness much better sanitation here,” the student said.
Principal GMC, Srinagar, Dr. Samia Rashid however claimed that they have installed colour-coded bags in all the college laboratories and that segregation is done in all of them.
When references were cited of laboratories like the one for microbiology, which lacks these facilities, she insisted they had installed the segregating bins, saying which she terminated the call. A staffer at the said laboratory admitted that they had no colour-coded bags but claimed they were still segregating the bio-waste.