India and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have joined hands to implement a $40 million pilot project for managing the country’s health care system effectively and dispose of hazardous medical waste.

“India has taken a prime position in medicine and health care. It can now show the world the quality of its health system by putting in place a unique disposal mechanism,” UNIDO Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella said in a statement.

The project, which was signed between UNIDO and Ministry of Environment and Forests, would be implemented in states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Punjab, with M.S. Ramaiah Medical College (Bangalore) acting as the national implementation body, it said.

The project would be funded by the UNIDO, Global Environment Facility, Ministry of Environment and Forest, the concerned state governments and private sector.

It would benefit four large hospitals, eight medium-sized and 16 small ones in each state.

According to a survey done on behalf of UNIDO by the M.S. Ramaiah Medical College, “Every year, over 3,00,000 tonnes of medical waste is generated in India. UNIDO’s environmental -friendly project will help effectively manage and dispose of hazardous medical waste.”

Inviting private sector participation in the area, Yumkella said: “To achieve an eco-friendly disposal of bio-waste, we not only need to train people to be conscious of quality, but we also need the participation of the private sector.”

He added that in western countries, private businesses often deal with the disposal of bio-medical waste which allows hospitals to focus on medical issues.

The project, which would help in reducing persistent organic pollutants, comes within the broad framework of the Country Programme of Technical Cooperation between India and the UNIDO signed in May 2008