tamil Nadu will soon have its first centralised biomedical waste treatment facility (cwtf). The unit is being set up in Chennai by the Hyderabad-based G J Multiclave India Private Limited and can treat medical waste of 15,000 beds. The plant, which is set to commence operations, has already secured a contract to treat waste of 3,000 beds at a cost of Rs 3 per bed.
Taking its cue from the private operator's initiative, the state government too plans to set up a cwtf on the outskirts of the state capital. This unit will cater only to government hospitals or nursing homes. S Semmalai, the state's minister for education and health, recently made an announcement to this effect.
Environmentalists have welcomed the move, since most hospitals in the state were not complying with the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998. "Two cwtfs will ensure that medical waste treatment does not get monopolised. This will ensure that city hospitals also have a backup," feels Bharath Jairaj, legal coordinator with Chennai-based Citizen, Consumer and Civic Action Group.
According to G J Multiclave the cwtf being set up is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies to treat medical waste. "We have an automated autoclave machine with a capacity to treat 800 litres of waste per hour. The waste need not be handled by personnel as the autoclave is directly linked to the shredder. The incinerator can treat 200 kilogrammes of waste per hour," reveals Sanjay Kumar, in charge of the Chennai plant. The total cost of the cwtf is Rs 2.5 crore. The state government's proposed cwtf will have an autoclave, an incinerator and deep burial pits. The state government is also working on a hospital waste management plan, which will see more cwtfs coming up in various districts of the state. The success of the plan will depend on how many hospitals or nursing homes actually opt for these facilities.