Ailing hospitals

A survey of hospitals in Delhi reveals the poor state of waste management

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

about 60 per cent of incinerators installed in Delhi hospitals are working at temperatures as low as 200 c to 600 c , when the specified temperature is 800 c to 1000 c . Around 38 per cent of hospitals are still incinerating plastic waste, which leads to the formation of dioxin, a carcinogen. Only 10-15 per cent of the hospitals have separate pits for needles. Out of the 10 autoclaves installed in Delhi hospitals, only seven are found in working condition.

These are the findings of the survey carried out by Srishti, a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation. A total of 30 hospitals were covered in the survey. Even the most prestigious hospitals in the capital did not have proper waste management systems and were openly flouting the rules. This, despite the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, which came into effect from July 1, 2000. The hospitals surveyed include the All India Institute of Medical Sciences ( aiims ), Safdarjung Hospital, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital and Moolchand Hospital.

At a seminar held on October 10, Ravi Agarwal, coordinator of Srishti, said that the need of the hour was to have centralised zonal facilities, where waste is taken care off at a central point, rather than each hospital installing equipment such as incinerators within their premises. Speaking at the seminar, Dilip Biswas, chairperson, Central Pollution Control board, said: "We have told the state pollution control boards to prosecute the offenders and in some cases legal notices have been issued."

Meanwhile, the Union ministry of environment and forests ( mef ) has come up with rules for the management of municipal solid waste. Till now, there were only bylaws enacted by state governments to deal with the problem. The rules allow for the incineration of waste which experts believe will produce the deadly dioxin.

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