Mumbai Local

MPCB to survey hospitals for sewage treatment

The country has just stepped up its battle against drug-resistant infections and infectious diseases in general. Following the new biomedical waste guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Environment in March this year, the State Pollution Control Board (MPCB) will carry out a survey of all hospitals across Maharashtra over the next month to check if they have an effluent or a sewage treatment plant (STP) on their premises. The inventory, said officials, would enable them to issue directives to defaulting hospitals to set up an STP or an effluent treatment plant (ETP) in their premises.

It is important for hospitals to act as even their National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH) accreditation hinges on their compliance.

The MPCB on Wednesday held a meeting where it was decided to inventory all hospitals. “We will take 30 days to make this inventory and will give the hospitals time to comply. Almost all big hospitals have an STP but old hospitals in the corporation limit are connected to the civic sewer. We will be issuing a directive and warning asking hospitals to comply with this,” said Dr. P. Anbalagan, member secretary, MPCB. He further said not all corporations have the capacity to treat so much sewage.

In the absence of a treating facility, hospitals discharge their sewage directly into the municipal sewer. Simply put, the concern lies in the threat of infections spreading in the community and the population at large. Such disposal practices can breed drug resistance.

In a hospital, the volume of antibiotics used is very high when compared to, say, a residential building. The antibiotic consumed by patients is not completely inactive in their discharge that is flushed into the municipal sewer.

Besides, this discharge travels to the main sewer which could be around 5 to 10 km away, leading to the possibility of soil or even drinking water contamination if the sewer pipe leaks. The presence of this foecal flora in the soil can lead to drug-resistant bugs in the community.

The new guidelines make it mandatory for even smaller units, including nursing homes to set up such units.

Dr. Vivek Desai, founder of Hosmac, a hospital consultancy, pegged the compliance to the STP rule to about 50 per cent.

“Hospitals with more than 100 beds and those that came up in the last 10 years have an STP,” he said, and pointed out for smaller units that work out of buildings, it would be a tall order.

The MPCB made STPs mandatory in 2012, but compliance was limited to new and big facilities.

“The rule was there, but is being enforced with much vigour now,” said the senior official of a private hospital. NABH officials said they seek the biomedical waste authorisation certificate issued by state Pollution Control Boards while giving accreditation.

“The certificate is issued if the hospital complies with provisions of the biomedical waste rules,” said Dr. K K Kalra, Chief Executive Officer of NABH.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 1:40:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/MPCB-to-survey-hospitals-for-sewage-treatment/article14591131.ece

Next Story