Hyderabad: A report prepared by a Human Rights Forum team for the principle secretary, health, has given a detailed account of how untreated liquid biomedical pollutants at the Osmania General Hospital are being flushed down the city’s drains that run through colonies. It causes severe risks to the environment including pollution of surface, ground, and drinking water sources.
HRF president Dr Babu Rao, a former chief scientist, who worked on the report said, “We have pin-pointed a number of plastic bags containing human anatomical waste (yellow bags) lying in the open space outside a locked room of OGH. We also saw that there were two bundles of post-mortem linen on the side of the road leading to the mortuary.” The main concern, the report said, were the choked drains adjacent to the old OGH mortuary, where body liquid from unclaimed bodies after the postmortem was discharged into an open drain outside the building. The drain was filled with plastic bags that carry the waste. “One can find body fat and blood in the drain,” it said.
The report found unattended waste in the building adjacent to the mortuary. “The sewer line from the mortuary joins the hospital sewer that in turn joins the municipal sewer outside the OGH premises. OGH sewers are now open due to the laying of a road and they are not leak-proof. If the sewer does not lead to a treatment facility, an on-site retention system with treatment will be necessary before wastewater is discharged,” it said.
Certain types of biomedical pollutants are known to be bioactive even at low concentrations and are not degradable. These can have short—and long-term effects on the environment and human health. With OGH drains joining city sewers that empty into the Musi River, there is a real-time danger if this situation persists, he said. “In the backdrop of Hyderabad becoming the origin for development of several multi-drug resistant bacteria as the recently published joint study by several German institutes reveals, the present practice of dumping untreated hospital waste of various categories is a huge health hazard. Musi River could become a breeding ground for super bugs,” Dr Babu Rao said.
A letter criticising the apathy of OGH was written by former Union secretary Dr E.A.S. Sarma to the chief secretary, and the principal secretary, health. The department has not yet questioned the OGH authorities.