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Green Tribunal notice to five Delhi hospitals

                                                                                                      The Hindu, New Delhi, 25th April, 2013

Five hospitals in the city have not been strictly adhering to prescribed standards of collection and disposal of bio-medical waste according to the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) inspection team has revealed.

The inspection report submitted at the National Green Tribunal named two private facilities -- Max Super Speciality Hospital, Indraprastha Extension, and M/s Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre Ltd, Okhla.

It also found three government hospitals -- Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital, Rohini, Dr. Hedgewar Arogya Sansthan and Lok Nayak Hospital -- to be in serious default.

In the case of Lok Nayak Hospital, the report noted that here the sewage treatment plant with a capacity of 1,250 KLD was also non-functional for the past three months.

Earlier, the CPCB had been instructed by the Tribunal, in an order dated April 18, to produce complete records to show the number of hospitals that are adhering to the prescribed standards of collection and disposal of bio-medical waste and had asked the Board to conduct surprise inspections in Delhi.

The findings of the report prompted the Bench headed by National Green Tribunal chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar on Tuesday to issue notices to all the five hospitals “to show cause why appropriate order and directions be not passed against them and they be directed to pay compensation on the principle of polluter pays”.

The order further instructed the team to inspect other hospitals including private clinics and nursing homes.

“It shall inspect and see whether there was a mercury waste resulting from their carrying on of business of hospital/nursing homes, and if so, the manner in which it was disposed of. They should also inspect Safdarjung Hospital, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and all other major hospitals,” it noted.

The Tribunal has instructed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the CPCB to constitute more than one team comprising environmentalists and scientists to enable preparation of a comprehensive report to be placed before it on the next day of hearing on May 22.

The Bench also instructed that similar inspections be carried out by the Haryana Pollution Control Board for Haryana and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board for Uttar Pradesh

Keywords: bio-medical waste, waste disposal, National Green Tribunal, Lok Nayak Hospital, pollution control