What is Bio-medical Waste? Discuss the salient features of New Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules. What are the major constraints being faced by various state governments in implementation of the rules?

Published: November 18, 2017

Biomedical wastes are defined as solid wastes which are generated during the diagnosis, testing, treatment, research or production of biological products for humans or animals. It also includes syringes, live vaccines, laboratory samples, body parts, bodily fluids and waste, sharp needles, cultures etc.
Some of the major salient features of BMW Management Rules, 2016 are:-

  1. The ambit of the rules has been expanded to include vaccination camps, blood donation camps, surgical camps or any other healthcare activity;
  2. Terminated the use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves and blood bags within two years from the implementation of the rule;
  3. It provides for the Pre-treatment of the laboratory wastes, microbiological wastes, blood samples etc. with the help of disinfection or sterilisation process as prescribed by WHO or NACO;
  4. It provides for giving proper training to all the health care workers and also work for the immunization of all health workers at regular intervals;
  5. It has initiated a Bar-Code System for bags or containers containing bio-medical waste for the purpose of proper disposal of wastes;
  6. It provides for the establishment of incinerators so as to achieve the standards for retention time in secondary chamber and Dioxin and Furans within two years;
  7. The Rule has classified Bio-medical waste into 4 categories instead 10 as to improve the segregation of waste at source;
  8. The Rule has simplified the authorization process. The validity of authorization has being synchronised with validity of consent orders for Bedded HCFs;
  9. The Rule has provided for more stringent standards for the incinerator so as to reduce the emission of pollutants in environment;
  10. The Rule has made a direction to the State Governments to provide land for setting up of common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facility;
  11. The Rule limits the establishment of on-site treatment and disposal facility, if a service of `common bio-medical waste treatment facility is available at a distance of seventy-five kilometre.
  12. The Rule provides for having an operator who can timely collect and dispose of the bio-medical wastes from the HCFs and also assist the HCFs in conduction of training.

The new rule seems to be sufficient in itself however in reality there are some limitations attached to it which are faced by the state governments at the time of its implementation such as there is lack of data on comprehensive list of health care institutions. Another big concern is that it is very difficult to segregate the biomedical wastes from municipal wastes. There has been constant irregularity in the waste collection which is open violation of the rules. And most importantly there is lack of awareness amongst the hospital staff at each level, which makes implementation of the rule very difficult.

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