Dumping of bio-medical waste can cause disease outbreak: official

: Illegal dumping of construction debris and garbage has been prevalent for years especially along the border-lying districts, which has been the dumping ground for wastes from adjoining States.

However, in recent years, this practice has acquired a dangerous dimension with the dumping of bio-medical waste, hazardous enough to cause an epidemic, says S. Elango, State president of Indian Public Health Association (IPHA).

Waste materials from laboratories where research was conducted on infectious diseases or those from hospital wards that treated patients with contagious diseases, if dumped without proper disposal near habitations, can get mixed with the water supply sources.

This can cause a disease outbreak, he says.

There had been several instances of bio-medical waste being dumped not only in Coimbatore but in a few other border districts also by trucks coming from other States. Scavengers who rummage through these wastes or Municipal conservancy workers are at a huge risk of getting infected with Hepatitis B and D, which can be fatal, says Dr. Elango, a former Director of Public Health.

While asking the border posts to step up scrutiny of all trucks was one possible solution, the most effective way, he says, is to stringently enforce de-segregation of wastes in all healthcare institutions.

Blanket ban

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) State Youth Wing Secretary V. Eswaran says his party cadres have alerted the authorities regarding vehicles illegally carrying bio-medical waste from other States.

Calling for a new legislation with stringent penal provisions to deter such acts, he says the fine amount now was a paltry Rs. 1,000.

Another practice, he says, is to use forged papers to transport bio-medical waste. The party cadre alerted the police to a truck that was transporting hazardous material to a non-existent firm in Salem.

“A blanket ban on entry of trucks carrying biomedical waste from other States is needed,” he adds.


A.K. Ravikumar, State Convener of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Private Hospitals Board, says a common complaint was that biomedical waste was being mixed with common waste. This is due to domiciliary treatment by many patients who take insulin or dress wounds by themselves or treat pet animals. They dump the waste such as syringes and dressing material along with house waste.

The IMA urged the Government to install separate biomedical waste collection units in all street corners and sensitise the public to dispose the waste accordingly.

Butchery and meat shops besides chicken and fish stalls must also be brought under the scanner, he adds, as their waste can spread infectious diseases.

The IMA Private Hospitals Board periodically conducts training and awareness programmes for paramedical staff and house keepers who handle biomedical waste.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 11:13:30 AM |

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