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Clinics, labs, veterinary hospitals in state operating without ‘authorization:’ report

Panaji: A report prepared by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) about the all state-level action plans for compliance with Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 states that clinics, laboratories, research institutes as well as veterinary hospitals in the state of Goa are operating without mandatory authorisation required under Bio-Medical Waste Management (BMWM) Rules, 2016.

The report states that the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has also not conducted inventory of the biomedical waste, generated by healthcare facilities including its collection, treatment and disposal, and as a result it lacks the updated figures on year-on-year medical waste generation.

“In less than a decade, the number of healthcare establishments in Goa has increased by 228 per cent, while the bio-medical waste generated during this period has increased by 159 per cent. This shows many more such healthcare facilities are yet to be registered with the GSPCB.”

“Till 2008, the board has granted authorisation to 182 healthcare facilities (171 hospitals and 11 veterinary units) with daily waste generation of 1026.69 kg, and in 2016, about 590 healthcare facilities were granted authorisations under the Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 with total quantity of 2660.34 kg of BMW generated daily.”

Authorisation for generation of bio-medical waste and record of category- wise waste generated are one of the requisite documents that are needed to be maintained by healthcare facilities besides registration of the clinics with the municipal or panchayat authorities.

These unauthorised healthcare facilities go unchecked, and allowed to blatantly flout BMW laws with respect to segregation, collection, storage, treatment and disposal of medical waste in the state.

But, according to the board officials there are no such HCFs which are in operation without having applied for authorisation.

As per the new Bio Medical Waste Handling Rules, 2016, SPCBs and PCCs are required to prepare inventory of number of healthcare facilities, biomedical waste generation, its treatment and disposal, and every healthcare facility generating bio- medical waste irrespective of the quantity, shall apply to the board for grant of authorisation.

The central body has given a score for the Goa action plan on assessing treatment and disposal of biomedical waste, and effectiveness in implementation of BMWM Rules, 2016 as ‘satisfactory,’ and has asked to seek further improvement in addressing key performance indicators.

The CPCB has given a score of five out of nine for the action plans submitted by states/Union territories that include Goa, Andaman & Nicobar, Odisha, Meghalaya, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Daman & Diu, and Dadra Nagar Havelli.

A score of 7 and above is indicated as an adequate action plan, score between 4 and 6.5 considered as satisfactory action plan whereas a score of less than 4 is considered not satisfactory. 

The apex body has asked the Goa State Pollution Control Board to prepare inventory of the total number of HCFs and the quantity of their waste generation, adopt self-regulatory mechanism for monitoring and implementation for waste management that includes segregation in colour coded bins/containers, pre-treatment to laboratory waste, separate biomedical waste storage space, and liquid waste treatment.

The state has lost its scoring due to lack of common facilities for collection, treatment and disposal of biomedical waste. It is facing difficulty in disposing of the waste. A facility would have helped in total BMW management including collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal.

Goa was listed among six other states/UTs like Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, and Nagaland & Sikkim for not having CBWTF for the treatment and disposal of biomedical waste.

In the absence of common treatment facility, these healthcare facilities use different method of deep burial pit, concrete pit, hydroclave, autoclaves, and incineration method for disposal of bio-medical waste. The CPCB in its report has suggested to these states to restrict the use of deep burial pits method for disposal of biomedical waste, and if operated, the method needs to comply with standard under BMWM Rules, 2016.

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