Safe Management of Bio-Medical Waste

On October 4, 2011, in Medical Waste, by Jitendra

Bio medical waste management has elaborate rules and regulations in India as in different countries across the world. Before medical wastes were not segregated from municipal wastes and even in the US, medical wastes such as syringes or bandages were found washed up on the coastal beaches. In India too the change was brought along by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) which drafted the first rules regarding disposal of medical wastes in 1995. Incinerators are recommended in such rules for hospitals and nursing homes which have more than fifty beds.

The Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules came into effect in 1998 after which there have been two amendments. The amendments have ensured that the bio medical wastes disposal is made mandatory as per regulations laid down by this act in all cities and towns of India.

Safe Management of Bio-Medical Waste For the safe management of bio medical wastes initially the State Pollution Control Boards were given the requisite authority. But it was soon found that there was a lot of technical intervention required such as monitoring the waste water effluents, the air emissions from incinerators, due to which it was finally given the responsibility to pollution control departments.

As per the rules laid down by this Act, all people who handle, transport, receive, collect or handle bio medical wastes need to abide by these rules. Those who run medical units which treat or service patients more than a thousand per month will need to have requisite medical facilities to safely manage bio medical wastes. The schedules of the Act provide for the requisite facility to be put up in the premises of hospitals to deal with different types of bio medical wastes.

As per Schedule I, human anatomical wastes and animal wastes are to be disposed by incineration or deep burial processes. When microbiology or biotechnology wastes are involved, these need to be disposed of by local autoclaving or microwaving. The sharp medical objects need to be disposed by autoclaving, microwaving, mutilating or shredding. Discarded cytotoxic drugs are to be destroyed by incineration or disposal in secured landfill areas. Solid and liquid wastes are to be disinfected by chemical treatments and then discharged down drains or deposited in municipal landfill areas.

Thus, the Bio Medical Wastes Act of 1998 lays down specific rules and guidelines regarding safe management of medical wastes. These are comprehensive guidelines for safe and effective bio medical waste management.

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