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UN steps in to clear SCB waste

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 19: A six-member team consisting of officials of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) and the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) today reviewed the existing facilities for biomedical waste disposal at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack after a biomedical waste management project for Odisha was launched in Bhubaneswar yesterday.

Titled “Environmentally sound management of medical wastes in India”, the project is an initiative of Unido and aims at improving on the current procedure of bio-medical waste management.

The project, which will be implemented in collaboration with the Union ministry of environment and forests and the state government, will cover Odisha, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab.

While the project will cost $40 million (around Rs 200 crore) over five years, the Odisha government will contribute nearly Rs 10 crore. The Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) will be the nodal agency of the project, the management unit of which will be set up at the office of the OSPCB.

The team, led by MoEF director Subba Rao and Unido regional co-ordinator S.P. Dhua, expressed concerns over poor utilisation of bins at the gynaecology ward and bio-medical waste treatment plant at SCB.

However, the team expressed satisfaction with the segregation and handling of biomedical waste generated by the hospital. “Today, we only reviewed the facilities at the hospital. Subsequently, measures will be suggested to upgrade bio-medical waste management,” said MoEF director Subba Rao.

Twenty-eight demonstration sites will be developed in each of the states where the project is being implemented. Sources in the OSPCB said the 28 sites for Odisha will include the three government-run medical college and hospitals, some private hospitals, district headquarters hospitals and sub-divisional level hospitals.

The project will take care of proper segregation and decontamination of medical wastes, so that its volume is reduced. The project will cover the enhancement and optimisation of incineration technologies and encourage the adaptation of cost-effective technology and techniques.