Government notifies new rules for management of bio-medical waste

The government today notified new rules governing management of bio-medical waste, providing for a wider coverage and making it mandatory to pre-treat lab waste, blood samples, etc, besides necessitating a bar code system for proper control of waste disposal.

It has also simplified categorisation and authorisation so as to make a big difference to clean India Mission, union minister of state for environment, forest and climate change Prakash Javadekar said while releasing the new Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016.

''The new Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules will change the way country used to manage waste earlier and make a big difference to Clean India Mission,''Javadekar stated.

The new rules seek to expand the ambit of the rules governing bio-medical waste management to include vaccination camps, blood donation camps, surgical camps or any other healthcare activity.

The new rules mandate pre-treatment of laboratory waste, microbiological waste, blood samples and blood bags through disinfection or sterilisation on-site in the manner as prescribed by WHO or NACO.

All healthcare workers should be provided training and also be immunised regularly.

The new rules provide for phasing out the use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves and blood bags within two years. There is also a provision for establishing a bar-code system for bags or containers containing bio-medical waste for disposal.

Bio-medical waste has been classified into four categories instead of 10 to improve segregation of waste at source.

It includes procedure to get authorisation simpler, automatic authorisation for bedded hospitals and synchronisation of validity of authorisation with validity of consent orders for bedded health care facilities (HCFs) and one time authorisation for non-bedded HCFs.

Besides, the new rules make it mandatory to report major accidents.

Existing incinerators have to achieve the standards for retention time in secondary chamber and Dioxin and Furans within two years.

The new rules prescribe more stringent standards for incinerator to reduce the emission of pollutants in environment with inclusion of emission limits for Dioxin and furans.

State government will provide land for setting up common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facility and no occupier should establish on-site treatment and disposal facility, if a service of `common bio-medical waste treatment facility is available at a distance of seventy-five kilometer.

Operator of a common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facility should ensure timely collection of bio-medical waste from the HCFs and assist the HCFs in conduct of training

Biomedical waste comprises human and animal anatomical waste, treatment apparatus like needles, syringes and other materials used in health care facilities in the process of treatment and research.  This waste is generated during diagnosis, treatment or immunisation in hospitals, nursing homes, pathological laboratories, blood bank, etc. Total bio-medical waste generation in the country is 484 TPD from 1,68,869 healthcare facilities (HCF), out of which 447 TPD is treated.

Scientific disposal of biomedical waste through segregation, collection and treatment in an environmentally sound manner minimises the adverse impact on health workers and on the environment. The hospitals are required to put in place the mechanisms for effective disposal either directly or through common biomedical waste treatment and disposal facilities.

Hospitals servicing 1,000 patients or more per month are required to obtain authorisation and segregate biomedical waste in to 10 categories, pack five colour backs for disposal.  There are 198 common bio-medical waste treatment facilities (CBMWF) in operation and 28 are under construction. 21,870 HCFs have their own treatment facilities and 1,31,837 HCFs are using the CBMWFs, says a government release.

The quantum of waste generated in India is estimated to be 1-2 kg per bed per day in a hospital and 600 gm per day per bed in a clinic. 85 per cent of the hospital waste is non-hazardous, 15 per cent is infectious/hazardous. 

Mixing of hazardous results in to contamination and makes the entire waste hazardous. Hence there is necessity to segregate and treat.  Improper disposal increases risk of infection; encourages recycling of prohibited disposables and disposed drugs; and develops resistant micro-organisms.