Not many hospitals have been segregating biomedical waste in different colour bags, depending on the hazardous nature of each material, as prescribed under the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 1998, said Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) A.S. Sadashivaiah.
Speaking at the general body meeting of the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association here on Sunday, he said not many hospitals were segregating the waste into Yellow (for human anatomical waste and animal waste), Blue/White (waste containing sharp objects and plastic tubing) and Black (for discarded medicines, incinerator ash) plastic bags.
The KSPCB has been looking into the biomedical waste treatment facilities at hospitals across the State. Following a report by the board, the Lok Adalat of the Karnataka High Court directed the State Government to set up liquid biomedical waste treatment plants in its hospitals in Bangalore.
Mr. Sadashivaiah said the KSPCB was looking at the biomedical waste treatment facilities at 652 small nursing homes and hospitals that had less than 100 beds. Many of these institutions did not have facilities for biomedical waste disposal and mutilation of sharp objects such as needles and surgical equipment.
The KSPCB has, however, devised a way to address the problem. Mr. Sadashivaiah said, “We have started a scheme wherein a nursing home can pay one year’s fees and get authorisation for three years. Specialised firms dealing with biomedical waste disposal will regularly visit the authorised nursing homes/hospitals and take away the waste at a prescribed rate. Private hospitals are being motivated to subscribe to this scheme, which is now mandatory”.
He said that after these small health institutions, the KSPCB would gradually cover 11,000 clinics and veterinary hospitals in the city. Except for districts such as Bangalore and Mysore, the facilities for biomedical waste disposal were yet to improve. Although 23 districts had put in place some sort of mechanism such as incinerators and places for deep burial of waste, they were not functioning to expectations. The required facilities were yet to come up in six districts. The KSPCB wanted hospitals to ensure right treatment as well as responsible disposal of waste, he said.
Mr. Sadashivaiah said the KSPCB was suffering from shortage of monitoring and regulation personnel. “There are 200 vacancies for such posts,” he said and added that the process was on to fill them.
Police Commissioner Shankar M. Bidari, who was present on the occasion, said directions had been issued to the police to accept complaints of medical negligence, but not to initiate any action unless expert opinion was sought on the issue.
Mr. Bidari said the directions were issued following a recent Supreme Court ruling to that effect. He said there had been many incidents where agitations had been staged in front of hospitals upon a patient’s death, alleging medical negligence. “I have asked the police to register a case but not take action against any doctor unless expert opinion prescribes so,” he added.