The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has urged the States of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to pool in their resources to draft bio-medical waste disposal guidelines.
According to the body, Delhi and the National Capital Region collectively generate over 3,400 tonnes of medical waste annually, most of which remain untreated and dumped with municipal waste causing a serious health and environment hazard.
As per its estimates, Delhi’s share is roughly around 1,100 tonnes while Noida and Greater Noida create 800 tonnes, Gurgaon produces 600 tonnes, Ghaziabad generates around 489 tonnes and Faridabad produces 425 tonnes.
According to ASSOCHAM, though the identified places provide the best medical facilities, disposal of medical waste hardly exists in them and thus policy guidelines are needed to ensure that not only government-owned hospitals but nursing homes and diagnostic centres at such places are provided with mandatory guidelines for safer disposal of their waste to ensure public health and safety of the environment.
In a representation to the Chief Ministers of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, the body recommended that the three States should get together and identify places for setting up of centralised bio-medical treatment plants for disposal of medical wastes.
ASSOCHAM secretary general D. S. Rawat said: “Delhi and the NCR at present have only four to five bio-medical waste treatment facilities which are always over-loaded with such wastes. Waste disposal should be done as per policy guidelines framed by the State governments. The proposed centralised bio-medical treatment plants can be set up by the State government initiatives and through the public-private partnership mode.”
“However, if the States wish to involve PPP initiatives in creation of the proposed plants, 50 per cent of their costs should be subsidised for which provisioning can be made in the budget proposals of States. In addition to subsidy, the Union Government should be called upon to waive off customs duty on plant and machinery needed to be imported to set up bio-medical treatment plants. In case such machinery needs to be indigenously sourced, excise and local levies waiver should be provided,” he added.
The Chamber has also called for setting up an independent body under the Health and Family Welfare Ministry to look into proper treatment of medical waste in view of the over 700 large and medium hospitals, 2,300 diagnostic centres and nursing homes in Delhi and the NCR.