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2 hospitals face prosecution
Lapses in waste disposal
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
As serious lapses have been detected in handling and disposing of bio-medical waste by certain government civil hospitals in Punjab, the law-enforcing authorities have recommended prosecution of the offenders.

The lapses in the civil hospitals were detected following an extensive inspection drive started by the Punjab Pollution Control Board immediately after The Tribune highlighted the recycling of syringes, needles, gloves and other biomedical waste in this region.

Informed sources said the inspection team of the board found serious lapses in handling and disposing of biomedical waste at the Civil Hospitals at Ropar and Mohali. In the Ropar hospital, the shredder, which is used to destroy medical waste, was out of order and the autoclave was also not in use. The same was the case at the Civil Hospital, Mohali.

The sources said that when the team inspected the biomedical waste stacking room at Ropar, two teenagers were engaged in sorting out syringes, needles, gloves and other material. They were not wearing any gloves for protection.

The board authorities have refused to renew the permission given to these hospitals to dispose of biomedical waste on their own.

A senior officer of the board told The Tribune today that the two hospitals had been told to ensure the proper disposal of biomedical waste. Most of the civil hospitals had been using the common waste treatment facility, which was being provided by private contractors at Balyali (Ropar), Pathankot, Amritsar and Ludhiana. The contractors collected the waste from the civil hospitals and disposed it of at these four places.

They charged money on the basis of the bed strength of the hospital concerned.

The board officer said as the Ropar and Mohali hospitals had committed serious lapses, their prosecution had been recommended under the Environment Protection Act. For any violation, there was provision of five years’ imprisonment and fine up Rs 1 lakh under the Act.

Meanwhile, the board has directed the contractor of the Balyali facility to upgrade the disposal system within 15 days. Till then, the entire biomedical waste collected by him would be diverted to the Pathankot facility for disposal.


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