Flouted waste disposal norms
on april 23, the West Bengal Pollution Control Board issued closure notice to the Calcutta Medical Research Institute (cmri) for not disposing biomedical waste properly. The board has given the private institute one month to shift patients from the 350-bed Alipore hospital to other hospitals. The institute cannot admit new patients in this period and has to pay a pollution fine of Rs 1 lakh to the board.
“Since 2008, we have warned cmri several times for gross violations in the management of biomedical waste and dumping norms. We found the same violations during a recent inspection,” said P N Roy, chairman of the board. “Action had to be taken,” he added.
As per guidelines, anatomical waste, wound-dressing materials, cotton, sanitary pads and plaster of paris should be disposed in yellow bags; plastics such as saline bottles and syringes go into blue bags and other waste in black bags. But cmri never segregated waste, the board found. Syringes and needles were not destroyed either. This increases chances of them being recycled in the grey market and they may spread hiv, hepatitis, and other infections, officials said.
The board also found similar violations in state-run Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, Howrah State General Hospital and Uluberia sub-divisional Hospital.
Senior environment engineer with the board, Shyamlal Adhikary, said 30 per cent biomedical waste in the state is collected and treated properly. Of roughly 27 tonnes of biomedical waste generated daily, eight tonnes are collected and treated in five privately-run biomedical waste treatment facilities in the state. Biswajit Mukherjee, chief law officer of the pollution control board, said animal slaughter waste and waste generated in burning ghats are still beyond the purview of the law. “But they have enough potential to trigger health problems,” he added.
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