Environmental hazards: DHQ hospital issued waste handling notice -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Environmental hazards: DHQ hospital issued waste handling notice

By: Shamsul Islam

FAISALABAD: The Environmental Protection Department has issued a notice to the administration of the district headquarters (DHQ) hospital for storing medical and domestic waste in a room instead of burning it in an incinerator.

The notice was issued on Saturday after an EPD team inspected the hospital on Friday and found the hospital’s waste management “below standard and not in compliance with the EPD rules”.

In a report submitted to the EDP, the officials said that the hospital administration was required to burn the hospital waste on daily basis. It was, however, storing the waste in a room for days and burning it in batches. The report said that the 720-bed hospital produced some 1,000 kg of waste from its wards and some 35 kg from its three operation theatres daily.

The ward waste includes food packaging, polythene bags and waste produced by the visitors, patients and the staff. The operation theatre waste includes blades, drips, syringes, injections, used bandages and infectious items.

According to Health Rules and Regulations, all the hospital waste should be burned in incinerators on a daily basis. The DHQ was found to be collecting the waste and burning it on a way that could likely spread infectious diseases. The officials also suspected sale of part of the medical waste.

Medical Superintendent Muhammad Arif denied that waste was being stored at the hospital. He said the EPD had issued a notice “without an inquiring the hospital administration”. “They issued the notice after taking a round of the hospital, which is not the proper way,” he said.

The MS said that the hospital had an international standard incinerator for burning medical waste and was being used for the last eight years.

He said medical waste from Allied Hospital and Faisalabad Institute of Cardiology (FIC) was also burned at the DHQ Hospital.

He said at the time when the EPD team came for inspection, the hospital administration shifting a chimney and the incinerator to another place. He said the Faisalabad Development Authority and the tehsil municipal officer had told the administration to relocate the unit.

He said that 90 per cent of the work had been completed and the rest was to be completed in three days.

“The waste produced during these days was kept at the room as the incinerator and the chimney were being moved and had not been working for some days. This is not a standard practice at the hospital,” he said.

He said the hospital administration should have been contacted before a notice was issued. He said the hospital administration had sent a reply to the EPD and explained the situation. “We regret the authority’s one-sided action.”

District Officer (environment) Farhat Abbas Kamoka, however, said that the notice had been issued after proper inspection of the site at the hospital. He said the hospital administration had not given any explanation at the time of the inspection.

“We have received their reply and will inspect the site again.” He, however, did not give a date for the inspection. He said a dozen private hospitals in the city had been issued similar notices for lacking an incinerator. They have been warned to take suitable action soon or face penalties.

“The Environment Protection Department is bound to proceed against hospitals and other institutions that are not disposing of their medical waste properly and creating environmental hazards,” he added.

The Express Tribune

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