Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Mar 22, 2004
Industry & Economy
NGOs to be roped in to treat hospital waste in Bengal
Kolkata , March 21
EVEN as West Bengal's first facility for treating biomedical waste generated by the city hospitals gets under way, efforts are on to rope in NGOs to run `autoclaves' to treat biomedical waste generated by district hospitals.
Mr Asim Barman, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, said that the Government would set up these `autoclaves'.
He was speaking at a workshop on solid waste management organised jointly by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Indo-British Scholars Association.
Mr Barman said that Government hospitals in the State accounted for 50 per cent of the biomedical waste generated in West Bengal.
Mr Hirak Ghosh, former State Environment Secretary, said that the waste treatment facility set up at Howrah has already begun transporting and treating biomedical waste generated by the private sector hospitals in the city.
"Government hospitals would also be brought under its ambit from April 1, 2004," he told Business Line.
Currently, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation collects the biomedical waste from the city hospitals and dumps them at the Dhapa ground in east Calcutta in a concrete pit.
Stating that the 30,000 beds in the State - of which 26,000 are located here - generated biomedical waste averaging 250 gm per bed daily, he said that apart from treatment and collection, segregation was also a crucial issue.
Dr Ardhendu Mitra, solid waste management specialist, said that segregation at source, transportation management and waste treatment and disposal technology were all critical issues that need to be addressed simultaneously.
It was also important to create awareness regarding the need for segregation of waste.
He cited the instance of throwing away batteries along with solid waste as a prime example of lack of awareness - the chemicals within batteries contain hazardous waste and need to be disposed and treated separately.
Mr Khokan Mukherjee, Secretary-General, BCCI and President, Concern for Calcutta, said that in order to have a satisfactory, efficient and a sustainable system of solid waste management, `interventions' co-ordinated by the State were imperative.
He suggested a strategy, the main tenets of which would be targeting waste reduction at source, technological interventions and sustainable efforts towards institutional and regulatory reforms.
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