the concerns raised over the issue of incinerating hospital wastes will hopefully be set at rest with new rules announced by the Central Pollution Control Board (cpcb). Disposables made of thermocol and polyvinyl chloride (pvc) are to be first chemically disinfected and then shredded and not to be burnt in an incinerator, the new cpcb rules stipulate. These rules lay down, for the first time, national standards for disposal of hospital wastes and for incinerators and autoclaving.
Environmental groups had been opposing the use of incinerators for the disposal of hospital wastes. Incinerators are believed to cause largescale pollution. They were particularly against the burning of pvc items which results in the emission of fumes containing dioxins and furans which are highly toxic hydrocarbons. They are known to increase the risk of cancer. Besides, studies have indicated that these toxins lead to sexual dysfunctioning in animals. The cpcb has laid down detailed guidelines for the collection and labelling of the waste. It has also specified the temperature at which waste is to be burnt in incinerators and autoclaves.
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