The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Waste dump at hospital’s emergency doors

Raiganj, Oct. 7: Life flirts with death in the toxic heaps of bio-medical waste that dot the area outside the emergency ward of the North Dinajpur district hospital.

The waste generated by the hospital is dumped in front of the ward, often dubbed the lif-line of the health centre. The sorry state of affairs is a result of a dispute between the municipality and the hospital authorities over the dumping of bio-medical waste.

And so, cotton wool, dressings, used syringes, saline bottles, organs removed from the body and other waste are being dumped daily at a place near the emergency ward.

“Till even three weeks ago, the municipality dumping ground was where we used to dispose of the waste. Trouble started after residents of the area opposed the dumping of waste on that plot. They started creating obstructions for us and we had to stop,” said hospital superintendent Sourendranath Guchhait.

The danger of infectious diseases spreading in the neighbourhood, he said, is increasing by the day. “We have approached the municipality time and again but we are yet to get a response,” said Guchhait.

The waste lying on the hospital campus has not been disinfected, either by autoclaving or by chemical treatment. It was under the State Health System Project-II that the dumping ground was created in Ward No. 2 in an area known as Bamdar. The project cost around Rs 3 lakh.

Local residents soon started objecting to the process as waste products were being carried out of the dumping ground and into residential areas by birds and stray dogs.

As protests started building up, the hospital authorities changed the dumping site from Bamdar to the hospital and close to the emergency department of the hospital.

Heaps of discarded syringes, needles, used bandages and plaster casts now find place in the field across the emergency ward.

On one side of the field, some shops sell food to visitors.

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