Bio-medical waste disposal in India

The best possible disposal of medical waste is one of the key difficulties looked by healthcare providers over the world. They are created by hospitals, physician clinics, blood banks, veterinary emergency clinics, dental facilities, and clinical research facilities and labs. Medical waste may contain bodily fluids and different contaminants that might be possibly infectious. Consequently, medical waste management ought to stay a priority among healthcare workers. They may likewise contain culture dishes, bandages, gloves, and discarded sharps. The rapid extension of the healthcare industry in various developing economies and the growing spotlight on proper waste disposal are key variables driving the market.

The rising number of diagnostic tests in different developed and developed countries prompts the constant generation of clinical waste, in this way accentuating the development of the market. The rising predominance of infectious diseases and the developing number of clinical trials in various developed and developed countries are boosting the medical waste management market. The fast development of the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries is reinforcing the interest in medical waste management. Medical waste management is profoundly directed in different developed countries, particularly in the U.S. also, has indicated rapid strides in recent decades. Healthcare providers in these nations are progressively centered around adopting best practices for medical waste management and handling.

The intensifying focal point of various government agencies, NGOs, and community-based associations has driven healthcare practices to embrace the best strategies in medical waste management. Besides, the growing emphasis of public and private organizations to adopt best practices for the removal of hazardous medical waste is likewise emphasizing the growth of the market. Rising geriatric populace bodes well for the interest of medical waste management techniques.

Bio-clinical waste (BMW) disposal is a significant however challenging task. Health-care waste contains possibly harmful microorganisms, which can infect hospital patients, health workers, and the general public. Exposure to hazardous health-care waste can bring about the ailment. The Government of India has been laying down standards, in particular, Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, in 1998, The draft of Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling Rules 2011), and as of late Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016. Evidence from various parts of India shows that the information on BMW disposal among healthcare staff is low, and the practice of the same isn’t acceptable. Strict execution of the guidelines laid down is fundamental and is the need of the hour.

Suitable biomedical waste (BMW) disposal is important, from the public health perspective, and executing it is actually a challenging errand. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that health-care wastes are the ones produced by health-care activities including an expansive scope of materials, from utilized needles and syringes to soiled dressings, body parts, diagnostic samples, blood, chemical substances, pharmaceuticals, medical gadgets, and radioactive materials. According to the Government of India periodical, “bio-medical waste” is characterized as any waste, which is created during the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals or research activities pertaining thereto or in the production or testing of biological or in health camps.

India’s pollution watchdog, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), has released rules for taking care of, treatment and safe disposal of biomedical waste generated during treatment, diagnosis, and quarantine of patients confirmed or suspected to have the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Despite the fact that India previously had Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016, the CPCB guidelines were released to guarantee that the waste generated explicitly during testing of people and treatment of COVID-19 patients is discarded in a scientific manner. Biomedical waste, as indicated by the current biomedical waste principles, is any waste that is generated during the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings, animals or research exercises, and so forth. It could be human tissues, items contaminated with blood, body fluids like dressings, plaster casts, cotton swabs, beddings contaminated with blood or body fluid, blood bags, needles, syringes, or any other contaminated sharp object.

For isolation wards where COVID-19 patients are kept, the guidelines stressed that, in addition to rules regarding biomedical waste, as a precaution, double-layered bags (two bags) “should be used for the collection of waste to ensure adequate strength and no-leaks.”

“Collect and store biomedical waste separately prior to handing over the same to Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment Facility (CBWTF). Utilize a committed collection bin marked as COVID-19 to store COVID-19 waste and keep separately in a temporary storage room before giving over to the approved staff of the CBWTF. Biomedical waste gathered in such isolation wards can likewise be lifted legitimately from ward into CBWTF collection van,” said the guidelines while looking for a separate record of waste produced from COVID-19 isolation wards.

The CPCB suggested similar steps for the sample collection centers and laboratories for COVID-19 suspected patients. The guidelines further said that the CBWTF operators “shall ensure regular sanitization of workers involved in handling and collection of biomedical waste and that they should be provided with adequate personal protective equipment including three-layer masks, splash-proof aprons/gowns, nitrile gloves, gumboots, and safety goggles.” It directed the facilities to use dedicated vehicles to collect COVID-19 ward waste and asked them to sanitize such vehicles after every trip. 

The CPCB clarified that these guidelines need to be followed by all stakeholders including isolation wards, quarantine centers, sample collection centers, laboratories, urban local bodies, and the CBWTFs, in addition to the existing biomedical waste management rules. 

It also specified that these guidelines are based on current knowledge of COVID-19 and existing practices in the management of infectious waste generated in hospitals while treating viral and other contagious diseases and will be updated if needed.  

Overseeing healthcare waste requires viable information among the individuals who produce healthcare waste as well as among the individuals who handle it. Along these lines, to accomplish this, Healthcare Facilities (HCFs) and regulatory authorities need to take tough measures so as to guarantee the safe disposal of BMW in the nation. To express a few, boost of all HCFs and the amount of their waste generation should be tended to; preparing and awareness program for healthcare services faculty should be led; legal activities against defaulting HCFs and poorly worked CBWTFs is required; the self-regulatory mechanism for monitoring and execution for waste management ought to be encouraged, and well-timed adequate distribution of funds through central funding from National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) should be ensured.

Combating this issue has thus, intertwined multifaceted humanitarian and environmental challenges for various communities of the country, and therefore, needs immediate responsiveness for our common world.


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