Patna, Oct. 5: The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Bihar, is determined not to give clearance to new healthcare centres to set up incinerators for burning biomedical waste.
Incinerators at health centres burn anatomical waste comprising organs, tissues, body parts and fluids at high temperatures.
R.C. Sinha, the chairman of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, said: “We have not received any proposal for setting up new incinerator facilities to dispose of biomedical waste since the establishment of the authority (in 2011). But we will not even approve any such proposal in the future.”
The authority does not have a system in place to keep tabs on whether healthcare centres are scientifically disposing of medical waste or not.
Sinha added: “The use of medical waste incinerators was stopped in the western countries in the 1990s after incineration was found to emit harmful cancer causing toxins. These countries switched to the Sanitec medical waste disposal system, which disinfects the waste. Considering the environmental hazards of the incinerators, we would not allow them in Bihar.”
A senior scientist at the Bihar State Pollution Control Board said: “There is an ongoing argument in the country whether to burn medical waste as a means of disposal. All incinerator plants in the state are equipped with air pollution control devices and are completely safe.”
The tussle between the mayor and the civic commissioner has cast a cloud on the city’s trash disposal system ahead of the festive season.
Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) commissioner Kuldip Narayan said: “Though the differences of opinion between the mayor and me is not affecting PMC’s day-to-day operations, the tenders for the new solid waste management project for Patna under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission could not be floated despite the proposal being approved by the board around two weeks ago.”
Mayor Afzal Imam countered: “The proceeding is not pending with me but him. Last Thursday, I forwarded the proceeding of the last board meeting to the municipal secretary with a note that views of some of the ward councillors have not been included in it. I ordered it to be resent to me after incorporating their views. The secretary forwarded the file to the commissioner.”