Hospitals throw medical waste in city garbage bins in Hyderabad

An estimated seven tonnes of biomedical waste is produced every day by the 800 odd hospitals in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: Non-segregation of medical waste and improper training of employees who handle it in most hospitals is resulting in the waste getting mixed up with domestic garbage at streetside bins.

In addition to this, clinics that deal with less than 1,000 patients a month are not mandated to tie up with companies for safe disposal of bio-medical waste, said M. Shiva Reddy, joint chief environmental engineer, of the Pollution Control Board.

Because of this, disposal of the waste and used instruments is not recorded and there are chances of their being dumped along with the garbage.

Either way, it results in ragpickers picking up used syringes and needles and other medical waste and selling them in the scrap market.

“We are working with a few organisations and spreading awareness. We are making it compulsory for hospitals to follow scientific disposal,” Mr Reddy said,

According to the rules, waste should be segregated.

Human anatomical waste such as body parts that are removed during surgery, and bandages, should be placed in yellow bags and should be incinerated at 1,100º Celsius.

Red bags are meant for plastic and rubber disposables like gloves, bottles, syringes, tubes and urine bags. This waste is sterilised and shredded.

Sharp instruments should be collected in jars and must be incinerated.

“All government and private hospitals tie up with the companies for waste treatment. The only lacuna is that the segregation of the waste is not happening at many hospitals, resulting in improper disposal at the later stages,” said A.V. Ratnam, president of Parirakshana, a hospital management consultancy.

He suggested that the PCB must have regular checks at hospitals to ensure that disposal is done in the right manner.

Meanwhile, improper disposal of medical waste can lead to the spread of a variety of diseases.

For instance, improperly disposed sharp objects can lead to the spread of diseases like gangrene.

Dr S. Ramakrishna, who operates a clinic in Kukatpally, said, “Even in a normal out-patient clinic we use needles, which require safe disposal. Establishments need to follow rules and acquire certificates. These certificates need to be displayed in the clinic so that patients know that bio-medical waste is being properly dealt with.”

Clinics are charged Rs 3,000 for dealing with bio-medical waste.

While medical establishments need to segregate waste, it is important that it is properly disposed.

Dr S. Ahmed said, “Some establishments are not following disposal practices to save money. Hence, the hazardous material is given to the disposal company, while the non-hazardous material like cotton, saline bottles etc are thrown in the municipal garbage bins. These are picked up by garbage workers who segregate the waste. These workers get infected and their families suffer.”

( Source : dc correspondent )
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