JMC dump but no one’s batting an eyelid

Neelam Bagha. Dated: 3/15/2019 12:13:01 PM

GMC’s bio-medical waste lands in common

JAMMU, Mar 14: Government Medical College and Hospital (GMC), Jammu has been dumping its biomedical waste at a common public dumping shed of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC).
GMC’s irresponsible treatment of biomedical waste has given birth to various contagious diseases. According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) research, pathogens in infectious bio-medical waste can infect human body and pose a huge risk to “those within health-care establishments that generate hazardous waste, and those outside these sources who either handle such waste or are exposed to it as a consequence of careless management”.
Unmindful of such warnings, bags filled with biomedical waste of Medical College and Hospital are being disposed of at a dumping shed. The same dumping shed is also used by the people residing in nearby areas. The usage of common dumping shed has further increased the chances of spreading infections in the surrounding areas. Although, a biomedical waste shed is available adjacent to the JMC’s dumping shed, still the hospital workers are disposing the bags filled with biomedical waste inside JMC’s common dumping shed.
The hospital authorities informed that an incinerator (a machine to treat and dispose biomedical waste) were installed in the hospital in 2011-2012 which cost around Rs 35 lakhs. However, the hospital administration was not able to operate it as they couldn’t managed to get a ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) from the authorities. Further, in 2016 they had to take down the incinerators because of fresh Biomedical Waste Rule, 2016 passed by the government which mentioned that incinerators can’t be installed in a residential area.
According to the Biomedical Waste Rules, 2016 every hospital is supposed to segregate the biomedical waste within the hospital. The segregation is carried out by placing three different coloured garbage bags in every ward. Black coloured bags carry waste that is safe of any infection, yellow bags carry waste that might carry infection and blue bags generally carry bio-hazardous waste which includes needles, syringes and pathological waste from the hospitals.
However, with total disregard to the segregation rules, the Government Medical College Hospital was seen not following the guidelines. A physical check of the hospital revealed that the three different kinds of dustbins or garbage bags did not exist. The black, yellow and blue bags were sighted only where the biomedical waste was dumped. All the waste bags were dumped at one site which was the JMC’s common dumping shed.
Health practitioners are concerned that such reckless handling of infected bio-medical waste can also lead to spreading infections and air pollution as well. Further, it can cause serious health problems to the workers engaged in the cleanliness of the hospital. The WHO research also raises similar anxieties.
In order to manage the biomedical waste in the state, the J&K State Pollution Control Board has appointed authorized common bio-medical waste treatment organizations. In Jammu, they have appointed Anmol Health Care Facility at Samba and in Kashmir they have appointed Clean City Waste Management Company at Samurbugh, Lasjan and Kashmir Health Care System at IGC Lassipora.
Amrit Lal, a worker of Anmol Health Care Facility explained, “We collect biomedical waste from all the hospitals of all over Jammu region and take it to our facility in Samba where we segregate the biomedical waste in three sections, infected, not infected and pathological waste containing needles, syringes, etc. Then we put the segregated waste in the incinerators where the biomedical waste is heated up and in this process the waste is disinfected and then we dispose it.”
The control room officer at GMC Hospital also said that they have tied up with the Anmol NGO and that “they come to the hospital every day around 2-4 PM with their van to collect all the biomedical waste bags”. He also informed that those biomedical waste bags are then take to their facility in Samba where it is treated appropriately with the help of an incinerator.
Yet, how the medical waste bags land up in the common dump-yard is not known.
The common dumping yard where all the bio-medical waste ends up being recklessly thrown is not only posing hazards to the people living in the vicinity but also endangers the health and safety of the patients and the hospital staff.
The dumping yard is adjacent to the area where the hospital laundry is kept for drying, with no boundary wall to separate the two areas. This exposes the washed laundry to hazardous infections. On asking about the laxness of the authorities towards the hygiene of the workers and the patients, a senior doctor at the hospital, pleading anonymity, said, “This is because of lack of space caused due to encroachment around this area. Also, the washed laundry is not used in the hospital again, we throw it after washing.” However the sanitation supervisors contradicted the doctor’s statement, averring that the washed laundry is re-used in the hospital and is not just thrown away.
The washed laundry that goes back to the hospital is supposed to be fully disinfected. On the contrary, at GMC, the washed laundry is exposed to hazardous infections because the biomedical waste is dumped just beside it.

 

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