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Bio-medical waste threatening environment
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, MAY 7 (NPN):
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Published on 7 May. 2010 11:45 PM IST
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For the past few years, the sole focus of almost all cleanliness drive has been the endless load of garbage while another serious threat in the form of bio-medical waste from various hospitals, dispensaries, laboratories and other research organizations was neglected. Moreover, with the mushrooming of various health care establishments in the state, the situation has become worse with not a single hospital or nursing home installing facilities to dispose off the bio-waste, except for Military hospitals.
Addressing this environmental hazard, Nagaland Pollution Control Board (NPCB), Friday, conducted a workshop at their conference hall, Signal Basti which was attended by doctors, laboratory technicians and some students of Salt Christian College.
Defining the term bio-medical waste, NPCB chairman A Rongsenwati Ao IFS informed that it consisted of human or animal tissues, blood or body fluids, excreta, pharmaceutical products and even syringes, swabs and dressings. He added that all healthcare establishments that generate such kind of waste were covered under Bio-medical waste (Management & Handling) rules, 1998.
Expressing serious concern over the health complications arising due to unsafe disposal of bio-medical waste, the NPCB chairman pointed out that it contaminates even the soil, water and air. While at the same time, Rongsenwati also expressed his dismay that not a single a hospital or nursing home in the state has installed bio-medical waste disposal technologies but dump the rubbish in nullahs. It may be mentioned that according to the annual administrative report 2007-08 of Health & Family welfare, there are 518 government hospital and health care unit, 3 military hospitals and 25 private healthcare establishments in the state.
Asserting that if an individual unit finds it difficult to dispose off the waste effectively, he added, “Common bio-medical waste treatment facility, which is working in other places…should also work here in our state”. He also disclosed that only 1 health acre unit from Mokokchung, 1 from Wokha, 5 from Kohima and 54 from Dimapur have obtained consent from NPCB, till date.
While admitting that maintenance of a simple disposal unit was very expensive, the NPCB chairman disclosed that funding pattern of 50-50 basis for infrastructure except for transportation has been agreed by the state environment and forest ministry; however proposal for funding on 90-10 basis has also been forwarded to the central government.
Resource person for the workshop, Ritesh Prasad Gurung, an Assistant Environmental Engineer under Central Pollution Control Board, Shillong, underscored the importance of safe disposal of Bio-medical waste and it harmful effects on human health and environment.
Explaining about the varied procedures of disposing off the waste, Gurung said that the waste should be divided into four processes namely segregating the waste, storage, transportation and treatment/disposal.
Taking excerpts from the Bio-medical waste (Management & Handling) rules 1998, Gurung informed that the refuse should be treated separately according to the category. For human anatomical waste can be incinerated or buried deep underground while microbiology & biotechnology waste should be done through local autoclaving/microwaving.
It may be noted that according to the guidelines issued by the union ministry of Environment & Forest, any medical or research institution should submit an annul report on the disposal of bio-medical waste to the prescribed authority appointed by the state governments by January 31 of every year.

 
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