June 14, 2008

Bio_Medical waste Norms : Criminal cases against 24 hospitals in Mumbai

In a crackdown on medical institutions violating bio-medical waste norms, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has filed criminal cases against 24 hospitals in the state.

Those operating the hospitals face imprisonment for a maximum period of five years or fine of up to Rs five lakh or both, for contravening provisions of BMW rules (Section 15 of the Environmental Protection Act), Board sources said.

The hospitals include five each in Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad regions, three in Amravati and one in Kolhapur region. The cases have been registered for their failure to implement the BMW rules, the official said.

When contacted, MPCB Member Secretary Sanjay Khandare confirmed that criminal cases have been filed against some hospitals but declined to divulge any details.

However, another Board official said that cases have been filed against the 24 hospitals and prosecution proceedings have been initiated under provisions of Environment (Protection) Act 1986 read with Bio-Medical Wastes (management and Handling) rules 1998.

The norms make it mandatory to set up bio-medical waste generators for waste treatment or ensuring treatment at a common treatment facility, among other things.

In April, the Board had issued BMW compliance notices to over 1800 hospitals in the state. Of these, about 880 were small hospitals, the official said.

In February, the Board issued notices to 16 Mumbai hospitals, warning two of them of immediate closure if they failed to initiate corrective steps. It asked the M A Poddar Ayurvedic Hospital at Worli and Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals at Parel, to take corrective measures or face closure.

Besides the setting up of waste generators, rules also stipulate that bio-medical waste should be segregated into containers or bags at point of generation prior to storage, transportation, treatment and disposal and those containers must be labelled properly in different coloured bags.

List of 24 Hospitals

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