25 July 2010
Although the July 31 deadline of the Bombay High Court for healthcare facilities to register themselves with municipal corporations’ common Biomedical Waste Management (BWM) facility is fast approaching, around 70 per cent are yet to do so.
According to the High Court directive last month, registration by the healthcare facilities to dispose waste is mandatory. If they fail to do so, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has been empowered to shut them down.
Of 8,500 odd healthcare facilities, including hospitals, diagnostic centres, doctors (Allopathy, Ayurvedic, Homoeopathy and Unani) – within the limits of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), only 3,380 have registered with Passco Environmental Solutions Private Limited, the agency to which civic body has outsourced disposal of biomedical waste.
"The HC directive does not mean mere registration of the healthcare facility. There must be compliance with the designated norms of BMW management," Passco Environmental Solutions Director Pradeep Mulay said.
"Only 1,200 of the 5,000 clinics in the city have registered themselves. On an average, the city generates approximately 1,700 kg of biomedical waste per day."
According to PMC officials, 2,082 healthcare facilities, including 566 nursing homes, 11 blood banks, 175 pathological laboratories and 1,330 dispensaries within PMC limits have registered themselves, besides 33 from Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) till July 11.
Dr Sharad Agarkhedkar, President of the Pune chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA) said that of the 2,750 doctor members of the Association, 1,700 have registered with the outsourced agency.
However, IMA’s medico-legal chairman Dr Jayant Navrange wondered how could a homoeopath or an ayurvedic doctor produce biomedical waste. He said, "Though registration is necessary, there is no mechanism for inspection. The system regulating the biomedical waste management has its limitations."
Meanwhile, the officers of MPCB are verifying the healthcare facilities for compliance with the HC order. The inventory work is being carried out in the districts of Pune, Satara and Solapur, the Board’s regional officer P K Mirashe said.