‘Most of this waste remains untreated, is dumped along with municipal waste’
Though lack of proper disposal of hospital trash can pose a serious risk to the health of people and the environment, Delhi-National Capital Region generates over 5,900 tons of medical waste annually — most of which remains untreated and is dumped along with municipal waste.
ASSOCHAM’s latest findings state that the Capital alone generates around 2,200 tons of biomedical waste.
The study also looked at Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad.
India has seen unprecedented growth in the number of hospitals across the country.
Non-treated hospital waste always causes public health risks, including AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, gastroenteric infections, respiratory infections, bloodstream infections, skin infections, effects of radioactive substances and intoxication.
“We have to ensure that waste disposal is done as per policy guidelines framed by the State government,” said ASSOCHAM secretary-general D. S. Rawat.
Segregation and collection facilities for medical and clinical waste need improvement not only in Delhi-NCR but in cities like Meerut, Loni, Bulandshahr, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, said the paper.
About 65 percent of hospital waste is non-hazardous and mixing of hazardous trash with general waste leads to contamination.
This leads to risk of infections and diseases in anyone coming in contact with such items.
“Waste pickers often come in contact with piles of waste, which may have syringes or bandages with blood on them. These are potential sources of infections and diseases. Proper segregation of waste — be it at a healthcare facility or at home — is important to ensure that waste pickers do not face such risks,” added the paper.
ASSOCHAM added that centralized biomedical treatment plants should be put up in series as growing economies like India have huge prospects for future healthcare facilities.
No sooner than that happens, the identified cities need to be equipped with disposal facilities to protect public safety, health, environment and ecology from degradation.
“Public expenses on setting up of healthcare facilities in future will grow as the government will have to substantially increase healthcare gross domestic product (GDP) ratio. When that happens, healthcare infrastructure will need multiple channels for providing best of medical health facilities and also require channels for their disposal,” noted the paper. – The Hindu