Inordinate delays in setting up sewerage treatment plants (STPs) and sluggish pace in adhering to norms is affecting implementation of safe bio-medical waste disposable practices at Gandhi and Osmania General Hospitals.

The two hospitals are struggling to handle bio-medical waste even as a team of officials from AP Pollution Control Board (PCB) visited Gandhi Hospital and recommended measures to improve handling of the medical waste. The PCB team found several lapses in handling the hospital wastes.

The team was aghast to find that the authorities at Gandhi Hospital were not segregating that solid, liquid, chemical and bio-medical wastes were not being segregated.

“The hospital is not burning and shredding the injections after use. They are simply dumping hospital waste at one place which is hazardous,” a PCB official said.

The PCB had made it mandatory for hospitals to have exclusive STPs. “After the PCB visit, It was decided to spend Rs. 4 crore and construct STPs at OGH and Gandhi. But, the plans are trapped in bureaucratic wrangles,” a health official said.

According to estimates, on a daily basis, Gandhi Hospital, OGH and NIMS let out anywhere between 10 and 15 lakh litres of sewerage water and close to 5 lakh litres of chemical waste. Experts said that antibiotics, psychotropic substances and other drugs consumed by patients are not fully ingested. They are excreted and eventually find their way into the drainage system.

Such drugs are not bio-degradable, which means they cannot be decomposed by bacteria or any other living organisms. And hence, they have to be treated first in an STP before draining the water into public sewers, experts said.

“Amberpet STP is not functioning fully. There is also a need for regular checks by the PCB,” those familiar with the issue said.

There are only 15 common bio-medical waste treatment facilities in the State for treatment and disposal of bio-medical waste. The PCB officials have the mandate to implement Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules of 1998 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

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