As the burden of waste generation is mounting in India, The Ministry of Environment and Forests is tightening the waste management procedures to neutralize its effects. The environmental ministry has issued a new set of guidelines for managing biomedical waste (BMW) in the country.
Biomedical waste includes organic waste of human and animals, syringes, medicines, dressings, beds and other solid and liquid waste generated from healthcare facilities.
‘The environment ministry’s Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016 focuses on establishing stringent rules on biomedical waste generated from healthcare facilities for better disposal and treatment.’
India produces three million tonnes of biomedical waste every year, 484 tonnes per day (TPD) from 1,68,869 healthcare facilities. The ministry states that 85% of BMW are non-hazardous, and only 15% is toxic. But the mixing of BMW with other waste increases its toxicity ratio. Therefore, segregation of BMW is of utmost importance.
The new biomedical waste rules 2016 includes the following:
- The ambit of the rules includes vaccination camps, blood donation camps, surgical camps and any other healthcare activity
- Phasing out the use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves and blood bags within two years
- Establishing a Bar-Code System for bags containing bio-medical waste for disposal
- Pre-treatment of the laboratory waste, microbiological waste, blood samples and blood bags through disinfection or sterilization on-site in the manner as prescribed by WHO or NACO
- Stringent rules on Incinerators to reduce emission, emissions limits will be specified for Dioxin and furans
- The segregation of BMW will be made into four categories instead of 10 within two years
- Newer lands will be set up by the state governments for safe disposal of biomedical waste
- Bedded hospitals will get automatic authorization while non-bedded hospitals will be given a one-time authorization.
- No occupier can establish an on-site treatment and disposal facility if a service of 'common bio-medical waste treatment facility' is available a distance of 75 km
- Operator of a common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facility to ensure the timely collection of bio-medical waste from the healthcare facilities
"The new bio-medical waste management rules will change the way country used to manage this waste earlier. Under the new regime, the coverage has increased and also provides for pre-treatment of lab waste, blood samples, etc. It mandates bar code system for proper control. It has simplified categorization and authorization. Thus, it will make a big difference to clean India Mission," said Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of State Environment, Forest & Climate Change.