Dire need to set up plants to treat medical waste
It is high time that the government installs centralised plants for treatment of bio-medical waste. It is not only important for maintaining public safety and health but also for the preservation of environment.
The situation is alarming, particularly in Delhi-NCR region wherein mushrooming hospitals and clinics have led to a lot of medical waste being disposed off without proper treatment. Throwing all caution to wind, many hospitals, diagnostic centres and clinics are depositing the medical waste at the solid waste dumping sites.
These are the findings of the new study done the ASSOCHAM.
The study says with an increase in the number of healthcare facilities, Delhi-NCR region is generating over 5,900 tonnes of medical waste every year. And the sad part is most of this waste remains untreated; it is dumped with municipal waste and thus causing serious health and environment hazard.
Delhi generates around 2,200 tonnes of bio-medical waste, Noida & Greater Noida generates 1,200 tonnes, Gurgaon produces 1,100 tonnes, Ghaziabad generates around 800 tonnes and Faridabad generates 600 tonnes of bio-medical waste.
“Lack of proper disposal of hospital trash can pose serious risks to people’s health and environment. The waste disposal should be done as per policy guidelines framed by state government,” says ASSOCHAM secretary general D S Rawat.
Segregation and collection facilities for medical and clinical wastes needs improvement not only in Delhi and NCR but in cities like Meeurt, Loni, Bulandshahar, Ludhiana and Jallandhar as well, the study points out.
Although about 65 per cent of the hospital waste is non-hazardous, mixing of the hazardous trash with general waste at garbage dumps leads to contamination. This leads to a risk of infections and diseases to anyone coming in contact with such items.
Waste pickers often come in contact with piles of waste, which may be having syringes or bandages with blood on them, a potential source of infections and diseases. Proper segregation of the waste, be it at a healthcare facility or at homes, is important to ensure that waste pickers do not face such risks, adds the paper.
Diseases caused by coming in contact with untreated medical waste include AIDS, hepatitis B & C, gastroenteric infections, respiratory infections, blood stream infections, skin infections, effects of radioactive substances and intoxication