Editorial: Dangerous waste

Srinagar: Bio Medical waste in increasing day by day and so are the concerns of the waste being ill treated also increasing. A developing country like India whose population is vast is likely to generate about 775.5 tonnes of medical waste per day by 2022 from the current level of 550.9 tonnes daily. This revelation has come from a study conducted jointly by industry body ASSOCHAM and Velocity.

The study says that medical waste is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 7 per cent. Titled ‘Unearthing the Growth Curve and Necessities of Bio Medical Waste Management in India-2018’, the study stressed on the need for stringent monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure safe and effective management of waste.

Importantly, the safe and effective management of waste is not only a legal necessity but also a social responsibility. Lack of concern, motivation, awareness and cost factor are some of the problems faced in proper biomedical waste management.

The biomedical waste generated in our state too is creating lot of health hazards for the populace here. Even the Committee on Environment (EC) of the state has cautioned authorities of Health Department, Pollution Control Board and other allied departments to take collective measures for disposal of bio-medical wastes collected from all health institutions of the state.

Though no concrete plan of action has been put in place by the government to dispose off the bio medical waste in a scientific way, the health department has failed to even ensure that a fully mechanized plant is installed which will ensure the scientific disposal of this hazardous waste.  

The situation is turning out so grave that not even a single waste disposal plant has been put in action by the government as well as the private hospitals running here. Worse, the pollution controlling devices installed in the Government and Private hospitals of the state have failed to stand the checks and balances issued by the pollution control board.

Even the EC has admitted that the treatment plants of Lassipora and Samba are not working satisfactory. The environment panel has asked the government to take necessary action in this regard and asked top officials to personally visit the sites.

Biomedical waste management has come up as a major challenge owing to the fact that the waste generated today has increased quite tremendously. Therefore, the need to educate the paramedical and other related staff to deal with it in a scientific way has become a necessity.

According to the study, the key challenges in bio-medical waste management include speed of data availability, under-reporting of waste generated and handling capacity, operation of healthcare facility without authorisation under Biomedical Waste Management Rules, lack of awareness among various sections of the staff at all levels among others.

In addition to health risks associated with poor management of medical waste, its impact on environment, especially to the risks of pollution of water, air and soil in under developed regions needs to be considered as a top priority.






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