The Telegraph
Wednesday , October 27 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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In the dock over waste

Cuttack, Oct. 26: Biomedical waste products have yet again been found amongst regular waste collected from S.C.B. Medical College Hospital. The incident has worried Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) authorities as this has become a regular affair due to the indifference of hospital staff in segregating biomedical and regular wastes.

“There have been complaints on several occasions. We will soon issue a notice invoking the Corporation Act to the hospital administration to mend its ways as it poses health hazards both within the hospital and outside,” CMC commissioner R.N. Nanda told The Telegraph today.

Sources said CMC had taken the decision on receiving a report from the high court-appointed amicus curiae, who inspected the hospital on Sunday. According to the report, biomedical wastes were not being disposed of after properly segregating them into different coloured bags, as is mandatory under the rules. Apart from that, the management of biomedical waste was also not proper.

“Though a part of the waste was being segregated, it was not being done uniformly in all wards. As a result, biomedical wastes were finding their way into the general wastes,” CMC assistant health officer P.K. Pradhan, who accompanied the amicus curiae during the inspection, told The Telegraph.

Maitree Sansad, a city-based socio-cultural organisation, filed a PIL on the health hazards posed by improper disposal of bio-wastes. Consequently, the high court issued a series of orders and has been monitoring implementation of biomedical waste (management and handling) rules for over two years now through the amicus curiae. “But treatment and disposal of biomedical wastes continues to be a half-hearted affair. What is worse is that things have not changed since the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) filed criminal cases against the hospital administration last month,” amicus curiae Pravat Das told The Telegraph today.

The SPCB had filed the criminal cases in pursuance of the high court order. The direction for initiating criminal proceedings was based on the observations of an advocate committee on the state of disposal of biomedical wastes at the hospital. D.N. Maharana, the superintendent of the hospital, refused to comment on the issue.

S.C.B. Medical College Hospital now faces charges of violation of biomedical waste management norms as the court of the sub divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM), Cuttack, had already taken cognisance of a complaint filed by the SPCB.

SPCB had filed the case against the superintendent of the hospital for violation of rules of the Biomedical Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, which attracts action under section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act. If found guilty, the accused could face up to five years in jail and Rs one lakh fine. SPCB Cuttack regional officer Adhikari Ashok Kumar Chatterjee had filed the complaint alleging violations related to treatment and disposal, segregation, packaging, transportation and storage and authorisation.

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