Healthcare facilities in J-K flout waste disposal laws

State lacks common biomedical waste treatment facility

Healthcare facilities in J-K flout waste disposal lawsHealthcare institutions, both government and private, in Jammu and Kashmir continue to flout biomedical waste management laws with impunity, courtesy government indifference and lackadaisical approach of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).

The state government is yet to come up with a proposal to establish a full-fledged common biomedical waste treatment facility and depends solely on small units, two in Kashmir and one in Samba district of Jammu province, for treatment of bio-medical waste.

These units, however, are unable to manage huge quantity of bio medical waste on a daily basis.Official sources told The Tribune that it was mandatory for all government and private hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and laboratories to have proper biomedical waste management, but many of these units lagged behind in segregating hazardous waste from general garbage, leading to the spread of communicable and other diseases.

As many as 1,167 healthcare institutions generate 4,305 kg biomedical waste on a daily basis in the state.

“In Jammu province, we have 815 healthcare facilities which generate 1,014 kg waste per day. However, only 349 kg waste is treated on daily basis while there is no proper mechanism for treatment of the remaining quantity,” said a SPCB source.

The biomedical waste management has emerged as a major concern to the environment, the source said.

Earlier, the biomedical waste from hospitals, nursing homes and clinics was transported to Pangoli in the Pathankot area of Punjab, the source said, adding that the exercise was stopped two years ago after a private firm established a waste management unit at Rakh Rara village in Samba district.

“The condition in most of the hospitals is not good as they don’t have biomedical waste management facility, which leads to spread of communicable disease,” said a senior official of SCPB.

“In 2012, there were only 783 healthcare facilities in Jammu province and they used to generate 881 kg biomedical waste on a daily basis. With the growing number of healthcare facilities and quantity of waste being produced by them there is an urgent need for having a common bio medical waste treatment facility in Kashmir as well as Jammu,” the official added.

Regional Director, SPCB, Jammu, Showkat Ali Choudhary admitted that there was inadequate facility of biomedical waste management in hospitals. He, however, said the private clinics and nursing homes had signed a memorandum with the waste management unit established in Samba.

Dr Sabeena Sultan, senior scientist and head of biomedical waste management cell, SPCB, Kashmir, said: “There are 352 health institutions, including 238 small clinics, in the Kashmir valley, which generate 3,291 kg biomedical waste per day.”

“There are two private biomedical waste treatment plants in Kashmir, one at Lassipora and another at Lasjan. The major hospitals have their own treatment facility, but sub-district and primary health centers don’t have proper mechanism to dispose of the waste,” said Dr Sabeena.

Sources said the House Committee of the state legislature had proposed to set up a full-fledged common biomedical waste treatment facility in the Valley, for which the site selection had already been completed.

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