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NGT tightens its screws on Goa over biomedical waste disposal

NT NETWORK

Panaji

The National Green Tribunal has asked all the states, including Goa, to furnish complete inventory of healthcare facilities, biomedical waste generation and proper action plans within two months, failing which a fine of Rs 1 crore will be imposed every month till the non-compliance continues.

The NGT has also ordered the states, which have not set up common treatment and disposal facility, to  do so within two months as per rules.

Goa has proposed to set up a common biomedical waste treatment facility at Kundai. Moreover the Goa Waste Management Corporation has prepared an agreement which has been okayed  by all the concerned departments.

The NGT directions came when the green watchdog  was hearing a plea moved by petitioner Shailesh Singh, who had sought directions for closure of all hospitals, medical facilities and waste disposal plants that  were not complying with the waste management rules.

“It is made clear that if even after two months the states and UTs are found to be non-compliant, the compensation will be liable to be recovered from the said states and UTs at the rate of (Rs) 1 crore per month till the non-compliance continues,” stated in the NGT order on July 15.

It has also ordered the states, including Goa, which have inadequate action plans and unsatisfactory action plans needing further actions, that they  must do the needful within two months.

The biomedical waste rules provide for furnishing of annual reports by the states to the CPCB and by the CPCB to the MoEF&CC. The reports  must be made available

on the website of the concerned state.

According to CPCB’s gap analysis of the compliance report submitted by different states in compliance to the NGT order, the Goa State Pollution Control Board did not submit annual report for the year 2017 within the given deadline of July 31, 2018.

The report says that in Goa many clinics operate without authorisation from the GSPCB, but there is no mention of exact number of such healthcare facilities operating in contravention of biomedical waste rules.

A four-member bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel has expressed disapproval of the inaction of states in furnishing the inventory studies.

It is regretful to note that 25 per cent of the identified healthcare facilities have not even taken authorisation from the concerned state pollution control boards, and  in the absence of which, the monitoring of waste management is not taking place, the bench has said. 

The NGT has fixed the matter for November 18 this year for consideration of progress report after coordination through the concerned authorities of the states including the state boards/ health departments.

The bench has said that a district environment plan needs to be in place, adding that the plan can be operated from August 1 by district committees chaired and monitored by the district magistrate.

The monthly report of monitoring by the district magistrate may be furnished to the Chief Secretary and may be placed on the website of the district and kept on such websites for a period of one year.

The NGT has also approved the CPCB’s key performance indicators for assessing treatment and disposal of biomedical waste, and effectiveness in implementation of BMWM Rules, 2016, which proposed that two to four times the environmental compensation should be charged from healthcare facilities if violations not rectified within 45 days of notice period.

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