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CPCB issues draft norms on disposal of bio-medical waste

LiveMint logoLiveMint 14-08-2017 Mayank Aggarwal

New Delhi: In a bid to ensure proper implementation of the Union environment ministry’s bio-medical waste rules 2016, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has now come out with draft guidelines on a “bar code system” for proper disposal of bio-medical waste.

The Bio-medical Waste Management Rules (BMWM) 2016 were notified in March last year to address the menace of bio-medical waste originating from places like hospitals, nursing homes and others clinical establishments.

The rules stipulated that it is the duty of every occupier (healthcare facility) to establish a bar code system for bags or containers containing bio-medical waste to be sent out of the premises for any purpose within one year from the date of notification. The rules also state that it is the duty of the every operator to establish a bar code system for handling bio-medical waste.

Under the rules, the occupier is a person having administrative control over the institution and the premises generating bio-medical waste like hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, dispensaries, veterinary institutions, animal houses, pathological laboratories, blood banks, healthcare facilities and clinical establishments, irrespective of their system of medicine and by whatever name they are called. The operator is the Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment Facility (CBWTF), which looks after collection, reception, storage, transport, treatment, disposal or any other form of handling bio-medical waste.

In the draft guidelines published last week, CPCB, which is India’s nodal pollution watchdog, said these are proposed to “provide guidance to the stakeholders” and are meant for “ensuring effective enforcement” of the BMWM Rules 2016.

The guidelines explained that the bar code system, required to be adopted by both the occupier as well as operator of a CBWTF, helps in “tracking of waste from source of generation to final destination for final treatment and disposal”.

It would also help in “identification of waste in the event of source of generation in case waste is disposed of improperly” and in “quantification of bio-medical waste generated”.

The draft guidelines will be finalized after consultation with all stakeholders. The proposed guidelines suggested colour-coded bags containing pre-printed bar coded labels for handling the waste. It also specified that the bar code should have details like name of the healthcare facility, place and postal code, a unique number of the bag/containers and the thickness of bag.

It also said that the bar-coded label should be tamper-proof, water-proof, should be able to resist temperatures, pressures, should not have any trace of heavy metals or any other objectionable chemical constituent, should be non-porous plastic and should be of acrylic-based adhesive etc.

According to the environment ministry, the quantum of bio-medical waste generated in India is estimated to be 1-2 kilogram per bed per day in a hospital and 600gm per day per bed in a clinic. Total bio-medical waste generation in the country is 484 TPD (tonnes per day) from 168,869 healthcare facilities (HCF), out of which 447 TPD is treated.

While 85% of the hospital waste is non-hazardous, 15% is infectious or hazardous. Mixing of hazardous waste results into contamination and makes the entire waste hazardous. Thus the rules, which were notified last year, emphasized that there is necessity to segregate and treat as improper disposal increases risk of infection, encourages recycling of prohibited disposables and disposed drugs.

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