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CAG reveals blatant violation of biomedical waste rules in city

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 July 2016 12:00 AM GMT

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 25: The health care establishments in Assam were functioning without obtaining authorization from the Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) in blatant violation of the Bio-Medical Waste Rules, said the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in his report on the Government of Assam. This is gross violation of the bio-medical waste rules. The report was tabled in the Assam Assembly today.

The Biomedical Waste (Magement and Handling) Rules, 1998 defines Bio-Medical Waste (BMW) as any waste which is generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings or animals or in research pertaining hitherto. BMW includes waste generated by hospitals, health care establishments, veteriry institutions and consists of discarded drugs, sharp waste, microbiological and biotechnological waste, human atomical waste, animal wastes, etc.

According to Rule 8 of BMW Rules, every health care establishment treating 1,000 or more patients a month has to obtain authorization from the PCBA for generating, collecting, receiving, storing, treating, disposing or handling biomedical waste. In sync with the Rule, Dispur in November 2003 fixed an authorization fee under biomedical Rules between Rs 40,000 and Rs 2 lakh per health care establishment. However, the annual report submitted to the CPCB by the PCBA, as many as 836 health care establishments (82.44 per cent) were functioning without any authorization from the PCBA in blatant violation of biomedical waste Rules. This violation of biomedical waste rules, according to the CAG report, has cost the State exchequer of Rs 3.34 crore as fees which has not been realized from the defaulters.

In its reply, the PCBA said in August 2015 that action had been taken in the form of notices and directives to the health care establishments. The PCBA said in April 2016 that most of the health care establishments that had not applied for authorization were government primary health centres (PHCs), including dispensaries and clinic.

The CAG report further revealed that despite lapse of 12 years after the scheduled date prescribed in the BMW Rules, 56 health care establishments in Guwahati neither had their own waste treatment facilities not had tie-up with other common biomedical waste treatment facilities.

It was observed during audit that despite mandatory provisions in the biomedical waste Rules and lapse of more than 12 years since January 1, 2003, as many as 56 of 183 health care establishments in Guwahati neither had their own waste treatment facilities or tied up with other common biomedical waste treatment facilities. According to section 15 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, whoever fails to comply with any provisions of the Act or the rules made thereunder, shall in respect of such failure, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fines which may extend to Rs 1 lakh or both.

The report further said that the PCBA also had not taken punitive action as per the Environment (Protection) Act for non-compliance of the biomedical waste Rules despite the fact that 98.14 MT biomedical waste had been generated by 56 hospitals during the period of the performance audit. Surprisingly, the PCBA had not discussed the issue of non-compliance with biomedical waste Rules in any of its 12 meeting held between 2010 and 2015, the CAG report said, and added: “The PCBA had also not carried out any study on impact of untreated biomedical waste on health.”


Cag Revelation

* 56 health care establishments in Guwahati neither have their own waste treatment facilities not have tie-up with other common biomedical waste treatment facilities.

* PCBA also has not taken punitive action as per the Environment (Protection) Act for non-compliance of the biomedical waste Rules despite the fact that 98.14 MT biomedical waste was generated by 56 hospitals during the period of the performance audit.

* PCBA did not discuss the issue of non-compliance with biomedical waste Rules in any of its 12 meetings held between 2010 and 2015.

* The PCBA also did not carried out any study on impact of untreated biomedical waste on health.

* This violation of biomedical waste rules, according to the CAG report, has cost the State exchequer of Rs 3.34 crore as fees.

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