KOLKATA, 7 JUNE: Despite being served a showcause notice citing alleged non-compliance of Biomedical Waste (management and handling) Rules, 1998, by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) was found flouting norms by not separating untreated biomedical waste and domestic waste on its premises.
The assistant superintendent of CMCH, Dr Susmita Nag, claimed that human anatomical waste (body tissue, organs, placenta, body parts) are kept in yellow bags in a vat near the Eden Building on the CMCH premises and a private operator, M/s SembRamky Environmental Management Pvt. Ltd, approved by the state government takes care of its disposal. Biomedical wastes including plastic and sharp instruments are kept in blue bags and are disinfected at the hospital after which gloves are shredded and sharp instruments are destroyed so that they cannot be reused. Black bags containing domestic waste are kept in a vat near Gate no 1 of the CMCH that is cleaned every morning.
But this correspondent found that blue, yellow and black bags were kept together in two vats near gate no 1. There was no separate vat for yellow bags (human anatomical waste) near the Eden building. Not only this, syringes and tubes containing blood samples, gloves and various kinds of bottles were found littered at the back of the vat enclosure near gate no 1. A staff of the CMCH canteen said: “The vat is emptied every morning at 9 am. Just the vats are cleaned and not the area around.” By the end of the day, the vats are seen spilling over it and the waste that falls around is left to rot. Gloves, syringes and blue bags were seen lying at different spots in the CMCH. The gloves were not shredded and needles were intact on the syringes.
A cleaning staff of the hospital said: “I don’t know what blue, yellow and black means. We just empty the dustbins near gate no 1 and a vehicle comes to clean the vats regularly.”
The senior environment engineer of Waste Management Cell of WBPCB, Mr Shyamal Adhikari, said that CMCH has given a very brief reply to the showcause notice it was served. “The CMCH authorities have said that they will comply by the bio-medical waste management norms. We are having discussions on the issue and the WBPCB decision will be known by the end of this week.”
Also, syringes, medicine bottles, blood bags, blood-soaked gauges, tapes and cottons were seen lying on a narrow passage from the CMCH to School of Tropical Medicine. Empty blue, black and yellow bags were also seen lying in the heaps. Only red bags that are supposed to carry infectious waste were not seen anywhere.
Not only bio-medical waste, domestic waste is seen dumped everywhere. Heaps of torn pillows and mattress, masks and aprons used by doctors and plastic bags were seen piled up at every other nook and corner away from the main passages. Blood is seen flowing in nullas and some of the drains are used as open toilets.