NGT seeks data on biomedical waste generation

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the State Pollution Control Board (PCB) to submit district-wise data on biomedical waste generated by Government and private healthcare institutions in the State.

The directive was issued by the Southern Bench of the tribunal comprising Justice K. Ramakrishnan and K. Satyagopal, expert member in the case related to non-compliance with Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016. The court said the data was required to ascertain the scientific distribution of waste between Indian Medical Association Goes Ecofriendly (IMAGE) and Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Ltd. (KEIL), which are the service providers for management of biomedical waste in the State.

IMAGE had opposed the PCB’s decision to permit KEIL to collect and process biomedical waste within 75 km from its common biomedical waste treatment facility (CBWTF) at Ambalamedu in five districts including Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta, and Idukki.

The board had informed the tribunal that the time-frame of 48 hours could not be met easily if waste generated across the State was processed at the Palakkad facility of IMAGE alone. It had cited the traffic system and urbanisation as impediments to sticking to the deadline.

IMAGE had opposed the 75-km criterion, saying that it was not proper to implement it until adequate facilities were established. The Indian Medical Association, Kerala, had also said that both IMAGE and KEIL were allowed to have open competition till adequate treatment facilities were set up covering the entire State.

The board said waste collection and processing did not constitute an industry, and that unhealthy competition in the sector might adversely affect waste minimisation. The Central Pollution Control Board has categorised CBWTFs as a non-industrial sector. It had informed the tribunal that one facility (KEIL) was struggling to get waste, whereas the other (IMAGE) was struggling to handle excess quantity of waste.

IMAGE had approached the Division Bench of the Kerala High Court after a Single Bench dismissed its writ petition challenging the order issued by the board entrusting KEIL with the management of biomedical waste generated in five districts and the remaining nine under IMAGE.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 11:53:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ngt-seeks-data-on-biomedical-waste-generation/article37694464.ece

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