SLMC to study waste disposal at Medical College

Biomedical waste mixed with food waste found dumped in pits

The State Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC) on Solid Waste Management will submit its report on shortcomings in management of biomedical and other waste at the Government Medical College Hospital, Ernakulam, before the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) soon.

The State Pollution Control Board (PCB) has submitted a report before SLMC Chairman A.V. Ramakrishna Pillai after inspecting the hospital premises in the wake of the open burning of non-biodegradable and biomedical waste on Thursday. The committee is likely to finalise its report by the end of next week.

The board’s findings revealed that biomedical waste had been mixed with food waste and dumped in pits. The health inspector at the hospital had informed the PCB team that food waste from the COVID-19 centre had been dumped in pits.

Biomedical waste generated at the hospital is being disposed in line with its agreement with the Indian Medical Association Goes Eco Friendly (IMAGE) initiative. Board officials quoted violation of Rule 8 of the Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016, citing absence of proper segregation of biomedical, plastic and food waste.

The inspection team found that biomedical waste had been stored in an open area. The incinerator at the hospital is being used for disposing paper and general waste. Food waste from the inpatient ward was seen half-burnt in aluminium foil packings in two pits.

The team found the sewage treatment plant at the hospital non-functional, and it was in violation of Section 24 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1976. Raw effluent is stored inside tanks without any treatment, it was found.

Meanwhile, the health inspector pointed out that biomedical waste might get mixed with general waste at times. IMAGE does not collect mixed waste, and, as a result, it is dumped in the open pits. “We have different colour-coded bags for collecting various types of waste. However, the increasing pressure on the system due to the COVID-19 situation may lead to such one-off incidents,” he said.

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