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HC Cracks Whip on Clinical Waste

The high court on Friday sought action taken report (ATR) from the Bihar government on disposal of bio-medical waste in all government and private hospitals of the state. The division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad passed the order on a writ petition filed by Vikash Chandra, alias Guddu Baba. On Friday, BSPCB filed an affidavit in the high court in which it accepted that the hospitals of the state, including the government and private ones, were not following the rules laid down for bio-medical waste in toto. The state pollution control board on Friday accepted that bio-medical waste was not being disposed in the state as it should have been done. In its affidavit, BSPCB has accepted that bio-medical waste was being transported from Aurangabad and Gaya to Bhagalpur for disposal which are against the rules, which clearly define that it should be disposed of within a radius of 75 km only.

Intervening in between, the petitioner told the court that the same was being done in Patna and bio-medical waste from Buxar was being disposed of in Patna, exceeding the 75 km criteria. Chandra also apprised the court that the health department had entered into an agreement with three private firms running three incinerators in Patna, Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur for disposing of the bio-medical waste generated across Bihar. However, he said the authorities were yet to disclose the disposal capacity of the incinerators. On this, the BSPCB accepted that more incinerators were needed in the state. On BSPCB’s admission, the bench had directed the state to file an ATR entailing as to what steps it was taking to properly dispose of the bio-medical waste from hospitals in the state. The court directed advocate-general Lalit Kishor to seek instructions and indicate to this court as to what action the state government proposes to take with regard to disposal of biochemical wastes emerging out of hospitals and other medical institutes.

The court gave three weeks’ time to the state government to file its reply. The BSPCB had last year served notices on 600 hospitals for not disposing bio-medical waste as per prescribed norms. Hospitals from Patna, Nalanda, Buxar, Bhojpur, Rohtas and Kaimur were served notices, around 100 in Patna alone. It was pointed out that Darbhanga Medical College Hospital – the second biggest medical hub in the state – has become a dumping ground for garbage and hospital wastes, both biological and surgical. According to the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2016, hospitals are required to dispose of their bio-medical waste through common biomedical waste treatment facilities. At least 8,900kg bio-medical waste is produced every day in the state. The hospitals put on notice generally mix the bio-medical waste with other solid waste material and throw them on dumping grounds. In 2017, Chandra had filed the petition, claiming that the hospitals of Bihar – both government and private ones – were not following the requisite rules as far as bio-medical waste disposal was concerned.

Chandra had alleged that biomedical waste was either dumped or burnt in the open, which is hazardous for humans and the environment. He has urged the court to direct the authorities concerned to ensure proper disposal of the bio-medical waste. In the last hearing of the case on June 21, the high court had directed the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) to file an affidavit in this connection in the court specifying whether the rules laid down in terms of bio-medical waste disposal was being followed in the state in true spirit or not. – Telegraph India