In a belated but much-needed move, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has finally rolled up its sleeves to take action against hospitals and other healthcare facilities for their failure in the proper disposal of COVID-19 wastes in accordance with the prescribed norms.
A team from MBMC’s sanitation department led by health inspector-Anil Rathod imposed fines amounting Rs. 5000 each to five erring hospitals for violations in Mira Road on Sunday.
Apart from the in-force solid waste management rules and biomedical waste management and handling rules, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has released a set of guidelines on the handling, segregation, packaging, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of waste generated during treatment, diagnosis and quarantine of COVID-19 patients.
As per norms, isolation wards in hospitals have to maintain separate colour-coded bins labelled ‘COVID-19’. Civic officials claimed to have created dedicated teams to safely collect and transport the contaminated waste in special COVID garbage trucks to the dumping yard and scientifically bury it into deep pits.
After it came to light that some medical institutions were defying the disposal norms, the MBMC first slapped notices and then imposed monetary fines.
Garbage lifters, sanitation workers and even rag pickers at dumping yards are at risk from handling unmarked medical waste which could turn out to be potential sources for the spread of this highly contagious and deadly novel coronavirus.
There is a separate mechanism to collect regular biomedical waste from hospitals. Apart from other public and private health care facilities, presently around 18 private hospitals have tied up with the MBMC under the 80:20 pattern to facilitate COVID-19 treatment. Hospitals are mandated to keep a record of the waste generated in isolation wards, sources said.