Hospital employees in cahoots with scrap dealers making a mockery of biomedical waste handling rules
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Oct 4: More than a month after The Sentinel exposed how nearly 80 per cent of hospitals, diagnostic centres and laboratories in the State are flouting norms and disposing off potentially infectious waste in a haphazard, improper and indiscrimite manner, there is another startling revelation.
A portion of the dangerous hospital waste which should have ideally been treated and disposed off in common facilities, is being resold in the market.
Sources told this newspaper that the racket is rampant in Dibrugarh. Some government hospitals in Guwahati are also allegedly involved.
"The racket is being carried out through lower rung employees like sweepers and security guards. Rag-pickers are also not beyond suspicion. They keep aside parts of biomedical waste like syringes, saline bottles, gloves and catheters, selling these off later to scrap dealers at Rs 10/15 per kg," the source said.
Re-using medical waste is a serious offence. These can be recycled, but only after proper treatment.
"However, the used equipments which reach the scrap dealers are cleaned, re-packaged and sold off in the market again. The racketeers normally dispatch these to other states like Manipur and galand," revealed the source.
Biomedical waste kept in a residential area has dangerous ramifications for the neighbourhood.
According to Biomedical Waste (Magement and Handling) Rules, 1998 of India - bio-medical waste should be either destroyed in an incinerator or treated at common bio-medical waste treatment facilities (CBWTF) which function under state pollution control boards.
The entire Northeast has just one CBWTF - christened 'Fresh Air' - located at Panikheti in the outskirts of the city. Only 69 government and private hospitals are registered with it. Generally, a CBWTF caters to all hospitals within a radius of 150 km.