Infectious waste still disposed of in the open

infection-wasteCUTTACK: Despite strict directions of the Orissa High Court for proper implementation of the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 1998, little has changed in the scene at the medical colleges and hospitals of the State.

Infectious waste, body parts and sharp discards continue to be mixed with general waste and disposed of in the open even as biomedical waste units have been established and measures taken for segregation at the points of origin. What is more appalling is that sharp objects like needles, syringes, blades and even plastic discards are being blatantly collected from the disposal points and most possibly making way to the illicit recycling units and thereby creating hazardous consequences. These have been brought to the fore in an inspection report submitted to the High Court by its appointed counsel PR Das.

Das in September had been asked by the Court in course of hearing on a PIL filed by city-based Maitree Sansad to enquire into the status of biomedical waste disposal system in the SCB Medical College and Hospital here and later on included MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur.

On completion of the inspection, Das noted that biomedical waste disposal infrastructure was available at the SCB Medical College and Hospital.

Prescribed colour bins were kept at all wards and facilities for segregation of waste as per classifications were there. Doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff including attenders were aware of the rules. Still, the waste were not segregated and disposed of properly. Across all major departments from medicine, surgery, neurosurgery, gynecology, orthopaedics, infectious diseases, casualty and even OPD waste were mixed.

Injections, IV fluid bottles, catheters, saline attachments were found dumped in the open at the Municipality yard near the incinerator site of the hospital. Infectious waste like blood stained bandages, plasters and dressing material were found in the open near Gynecology ward. The agencies to which the biomedical waste handling and treatment work has been outsourced have utterly failed in their duties, Das pointed out in his report.

At MKCG, the situation was worse with no semblance of a biomedical waste disposal system in force, he added.

The bench comprising Justice L Mohapatra and Justice I Mohanty have taken a stern view on the state of affairs and directed personal appearance of the superintendents of the three medical colleges in the State on December 18.