The bridge on River Subernarekha in Mango, Jamshedpur, sports a cleaner look on Thursday (picture by Bhola Prasad) and (right) the report published in The Telegraph on August 14
It is never too late to do the right thing.
A week after sickening pictures of the Subernarekha were brought to light, the Mango Notified Area Committee (MNAC) decided to clean the littered riverbank of biomedical waste and appoint citizen vigilantes to nail culprit health institutions the next time.
A special team, led by MNAC’s sanitary inspector Raj Kumar and comprising five health workers, collected heaps of syringes with needles, soiled cotton and bandages, and used gloves and drugs from below the bridge on the lifeline river, bang opposite the city’s main welcome gate in Mango, on Thursday morning. The hazard mound was doused with kerosene oil and burnt to char all chances of contamination.
Special officer, MNAC, Jagadish Yadav shot off letters to nearly 10 nursing homes and health clinics in Mango, asking them to explain within 48 hours how they dispose of biomedical waste. He also directed sanitary inspector Kumar to maintain strict vigil on the riverbank falling under their command (the other side of the river is under the jurisdiction of Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee) with help from local residents and vendors.
“We acted on media reports and cleaned the riverbank, but we want to identify the organisation/s indulging in such hazardous practice,” Yadav said.
On August 14, The Telegraph had highlighted the plight of the riverbank 48 hours after Jharkhand High Court slammed urban local bodies in Ranchi, Dhanbad and Jamshedpur for violating Biomedical Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules 2011.
The Rules, promulgated under the Environment Protection Act of 1986, put the onus of biomedical waste management on municipal corporations and urban local bodies. Civic bodies need to provide suitable common disposal or incineration sites while hospitals and others generating biomedical wastes must take the items to those designated places.
But, on the ground, ignorance and carelessness abound.
“We want to catch the offender red-handed and would like the media to tell people to inform us on the mobile number 9431964735 immediately if they spot anyone dumping biomedical waste on the riverbank. Do not hesitate to call even at odd hours,” Yadav said.
He added that a dozen-odd vegetable and fish vendors near Mango bridge, a temple priest and the owner of a petrol bunk had been given the same number to inform the MNAC’s sanitary inspector of the hazard habit of hospitals.
Incidentally, barring state-run MGM Medical College and Hospital and corporate entities like Tata Motors Hospital, Tata Main Hospital and Tinplate Hospital, no other health institution has their own incinerator for disposal of biomedical waste.
On the initiative of Jamshedpur Nursing Home Association (JNHA), an umbrella outfit of nursing homes and clinics in Jamshedpur, Adityapur and Gamharia, Dhanbad-based agency M/s Biogeneric Laboratory Private Limited has been disposing of biomedical waste since 2012. However, only those clinics registered with JNHA are entitled to the facility and are charged per bed.