Bio waste: NGT slams pollution board for not taking actions against defaulting hospitals
The eastern zone bench of the National Green Tribunal has slammed the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) for not taking any actions against defaulting hospitals and healthcare facilities for violation of Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016.
The bench comprising Justice Amit Sthalekar and Saibal Dasgupta, as an expert member, has also expressed anguish at the state urban development department for “burdening it with unnecessary documents”.
The panel imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 and rejected the compliance report furnished by the then deputy director of urban development Manohar Marandi. It directed the department to file “a proper affidavit containing only the requisite documents before the next date of listing”.
The order, which had been issued on January 25, was shared to the media by Calcutta–based petitioner Kankana Das during the hearing before the green panel on Thursday.
The panel has granted 15 days to the state pollution board to file an affidavit of compliance to show what action has been taken against the defaulting hospitals/health care facilities, which are operating in violation of the Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 before listing the next hearing on March 9.
The panel expressed its dissatisfaction, as the closure order has not been issued against the defaulting hospitals/healthcare facilities.
According to the tribunal, the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board cannot hide behind the Covid-19 pandemic to submit that no closure order or stringent action is being taken against the defaulting hospitals, health care facilities.
JSPCB legal counsel Surendra Kumar had submitted before the tribunal that because of the pandemic no stringent action had been taken against the defaulting hospitals/healthcare facilities and this was also stated in the supplementary affidavit of the board.
The tribunal acknowledged the issue as a serious matter of concern, as the defaulting hospitals and healthcare facilities are operating without Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) or Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) or without complying with the Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 and without having the necessary bio-medical waste authorisation and at times, also dumping the waste in open, as proper disposal of municipal waste is not available.
“The tribunal showed its concern that dumping of hospital waste in the open is a grave threat to human life and health, particularly of the residents of the area in which such hospitals/health units are located,” said Das speaking to The Telegraph.
The tribunal has also given 30 days to the defaulting hospitals, healthcare facilities to deposit the amount of environmental compensation.
The list of 14 defaulting healthcare facilities, includes the name of two state-owned biggest health hubs, Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) in Ranchi and Patliputra Medical College and Hospital (PMCH now known as Shaheed Nirmal Mahto Medical College and Hospital) in Dhanbad. While RIMS has to pay Rs 4,41,84,375 as compensation, PMCH has Rs 3,92,75,000 as compensation amount.