Mumbai: Biomedical waste poses health risk

People living around autopsy centres more vulnerable, say experts

Mumbai: With no separate arrangement for disposal of biomedical waste from the autopsy centres in the city, health-care experts have said that this poses a health hazard to residents staying around these places.

Sources said that bodies are brought to the autopsy centres in the city for carrying out post-mortem examinations. “The bodies have to be cut open during this process and there is a lot of blood and other body fluids that ooze out of them,” a senior doctor explained.

This blood flows into the common drainage system of the city which is a highly dangerous scenario, sources said. “The blood and other fluids that flow out of the bodies is often infected with AIDS, tuberculosis and other diseases and this should never be allowed into the gutter,” sources said. In fact, some of the tissues that are cut during the post mortem examination also flow into the drainage system and can cause a health risk to people.

A senior doctor said that the situation became worse when the gutter at Rajawadi Post Mortem Centre got choked recently and the blood was flowing in the open. “We had to write a letter to the local municipal office to come to the place and clean it out so the fluids are not left out in the open,” sources said.

Another serious problem is when the clothes of the dead persons are just dumped into the garbage bin which is collected by the municipal vehicle during the day. “It is a well known fact that in road and train accident cases, the clothes of the victims gets soaked with blood and other fluids. Hence this should be treated as a separate bio medical waste and has to be disposed off as per the set norms,” a health expert pointed out.

Sources said that there are often complaints from residents staying around the autopsy centres that such bio medical waste is thrown into the open. “The residents say that not just there is bad smell coming from this waste, but this can also contaminate the water supply in the area and hence steps need to be taken to prevent this,” an official said.

When asked about this, Dr SM Patil, police surgeon and in charge of the autopsy centres, admitted that the blood and other fluids coming out of these places are a bio medical waste and need to be disposed separately. “But all our centres are attached to municipal hospitals and hence it is their responsibility to dispose them off in the right way,” he pointed out. When asked why this was not being done at present, the official said that he will speak with the concerned persons and get this done.

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