World Environment Week: Are Private Hospitals managing hazardous bio-waste in non certified way? 

Proper waste management in hospitals has always been an issue when it comes to the health sector of the state. During the last three years, the government tried to implement the waste segregation policy in almost every heath care institute, and ended up in a successful implementation of the same, however there still are certain health care institutions, especially the private ones that are not adhering to the waste management and segregation policy.

Sources are suggesting that the hospitals situated in city outskirts are not adhering to the set guidelines pertaining to the management and segregation of whatever waste that is coming out of these hospitals.

According to the guidelines by World Health Organization (WHO) about the treatment of waste that is coming out of hospitals, “hazardous waste can be treated to reach a level of hazard / infectiousness that is considered as acceptable. Thus, after treatment, they follow the non-risk HCW stream and are disposed of with the general solid waste,”

This suggests that the waste that is hazardous is to be treated in such a way that it reaches to a level of infectiousness, however what has been observed, as per the sources, in the majority of the nursing homes and private hospitals, usually situated at residential areas that they carry out the process of disposing off the hazardous waste by incineration.

The WHO guidelines state that “they (bio waste) can also be directly disposed of by incineration or in sanitary landfills,” however, the burning process is not carried out in any sanitary landfills, but are carried out in lands that are used for the residential purpose, even at some places the incineration is done in agricultural lands adjacent to the hospitals.

Experts say that the hospitals indulged in such activities not only violate the set guidelines, but also play a role in environmental degradation and are putting the human life to risk.

The WHO guidelines further say that “some medical areas produce the waste that can reasonably be suspected to be contaminated with highly contagious pathogens. Such sources include: all laboratory samples containing body fluids, tissues or faecal stools; isolation wards; and medical research facilities handling class 3 or higher pathogens.”

The majority of the private hospitals run a parallel laboratory where number of tests are carried out and where there are good chances that the waste they produce is contaminated with highly contagious pathogens, such labs too, running in private and in some government hospitals, have failed in implementing the WHO certified wastes management guidelines.

The residents living around many private hospitals have alleged that the medical waste that is coming out of hospitals is being handled in very callous manner, and which is as per them risking the lives of the residents.

Muhammad Shafi, a resident living near a leading private hospital in city outskirts is apprehensive of the non-certified management of the bio waste in the hospital, he says that “usually the hospital sanitation staff after collecting the waste from different blocks of the hospital burn it in the open air,” adding that “this unscientific treatment of waste is causing problems to the population living around.”

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