Pollution Control Board takes action as they have not obtained mandatory consent to operate

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has issued showcause notices to 15 government as well as Chennai Corporation-run hospitals in the city asking them why they should not be shut down for not obtaining the pollution board’s mandatory consent to operate.

The notices were issued recently, to hospitals including Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Government Royapettah Hospital, Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital and several hospitals run by the Chennai Corporation including the one in Saidapet.

According to sources, TNPCB had asked the Directorate of Medical Services (DMS) a few months ago, obtain consent for all hospitals under its purview.

However, as there was no response, the showcause notices have now been issued to individual hospitals.

Since the hospitals use generators, it is mandatory for them to obtain consent to operate under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. Also, since hospitals generate discharge in the form of sewage and other liquid waste, consent is a must under the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the source explained. He added that some of these hospitals also did not have authorisation from the Board under the Biomedical Waste (Handling and Management) Rules, 2003.

At present, 12 government hospitals and 345 private hospitals in the city have obtained consent from TNPCB to operate. Earlier, the Board, while updating its records, found 323 new hospitals and clinics that had not obtained their consent to operate. Similar showcause notices were issued to them and around 40 institutions responded, submitting application forms, sources said.

“We are in the process of shutting down a few private hospitals for not obtaining the mandatory consent,” the official said.

However, none of these government or private hospitals has any issues pertaining to biomedical waste disposal. “They have obtained the necessary approvals and the two biomedical waste treatment and disposal facilities in Gummidipoondi and are functioning well. They collect wastes from 840 clinics, hospitals and laboratories” the official said.

Health department sources said these were procedural formalities and all efforts were being made to comply with the guidelines. The necessary forms would soon be submitted to TNPCB.

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