EPA con­cerned over im­proper dis­posal of med­i­cal waste by hos­pi­tals

Pakistan Observer - - TWIN CITIES - 04: 15 01: 30 05: 30 09: 00 STAFF REPORTER

ISLAMABAD— En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency ( EPA) has ex­pressed con­cern over the im­proper dis­posal of med­i­cal waste by hos­pi­tals and clin­ics in the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal. Ac­cord­ing to an EPA of­fi­cial, the en­vi­ron­ment body con­ducted a sur­vey in which it was found that 60 lead­ing hos­pi­tals in Islamabad, in­clud­ing pub­lic and pri­vate health fa­cil­i­ties, were not adopt­ing proper meth­ods to dis­pose of their med­i­cal waste.

On the di­rec­tives of an en­vi­ron­men­tal tri­bunal, an EPA team vis­ited one of the big­gest hos­pi­tals of the coun­try - Pak­istan In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sciences ( PIMS) in Islamabad - at the end of May and re­ported that op­er­a­tion the­aters were in poor shape and in­fec­tious waste was be­ing dis­posed of in sewage lines.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, PIMS lacked proper sys­tem of solid waste dis­posal and

the hospi­tal ad­min­is­tra­tion had been re­ly­ing

on con­ven­tional meth­ods of putting garbage in waste con­tain­ers.

There is no incin­er­a­tor in the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal for dis­pos­ing of med­i­cal waste of pub­lic and pri­vate hos­pi­tals, which is be­ing dumped im­prop­erly in garbage heaps.

An of­fi­cial of Pak­istan In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sciences ( PIMS) ad­mit­ted that the hospi­tal did not have an incin­er­a­tor for proper han­dling of the med­i­cal waste. Ac­cord­ing to Islamabad’s District Health Of­fi­cer, im­proper dis­posal of med­i­cal waste was dangerous for the health of cit­i­zens and could spread in­fec­tious dis­eases.

The Cap­i­tal De­vel­op­ment Author­ity ( CDA) work­ers and pri­vate con­trac­tors col­lect the hos­pi­tals’ waste and then dump it along with mu­nic­i­pal waste. The EPA of­fi­cial con­firmed that all pub­lic and pri­vate health fa­cil­i­ties were vi­o­lat­ing the Hospi­tal Waste Man­age­ment Rules 2005 on safe dis­posal of hazardous waste.

Ac­cord­ing to EPA, all hospi­tal waste col­lected by the CDA and con­trac­tors should be dis­posed of at the Na­tional Cleaner Pro­duc­tion Cen­tre ( NCPC), the only fa­cil­ity with a mod­ern incin­er­a­tor, near At­tock Oil Re­fin­ery in Mor­gah, Rawalpindi. The EPA had been con­stantly writ­ing let­ters and ask­ing hos­pi­tals in Islamabad to take their waste to the NCPC for proper dis­posal but its in­struc­tions were be­ing flouted.

It was re­spon­si­bil­ity of hos­pi­tals, clin­ics and labs to en­sure that their waste was prop­erly dis­in­fected and taken to the incin­er­a­tor for proper dis­card­ing, he added. Ac­cord­ing to EPA of­fi­cial, there was no proper data avail­able of the garbage col­lected by con­trac­tors. No­body had been fol­low­ing pre­scribed en­vi­ron­men­tal rules while the EPA lacked man­power to take re­me­dial mea­sures, he added.

On and off, the EPA had been is­su­ing no­tices to hos­pi­tals and send­ing cases to the en­vi­ron­men­tal tri­bunals for vi­o­lat­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal laws but no per­ma­nent mech­a­nism was in place for sus­tain­able mon­i­tor­ing and rec­ti­fy­ing the sit­u­a­tion, the of­fi­cial said.

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