In a scenario where waste management has turned out to be the most debated topic in Kerala, the issue of bio medical waste management also assumes utmost significance.
Inaugurating a state level seminar on Issues and challenges in managing biomedical waste & The phasing out of mercury from the healthcare sector of Kerala, organised jointly by Toxics Link, New Delhi, and the Centre for Innovation in Science & Social Action (CISSA) in Trivandrum today, K Muraleedharan MLA, drove home the point that hospital staff themselves had a big role to play in the disposal and management of biomedical waste.
However, the government hospitals are way behind in doing this, even as private hospitals are doing their bit in managing harmful and infectious waste generated.
Pointing out that as many as 95 percent of private-run hospitals successfully undertake the management of biomedical waste, he said that the lack of will has come as a bane in the effective management of bio medical waste in government hospitals.
Muraleedharan called upon delegates to come up with suggestions that can be deliberated by the people’s representatives so that a solution can be charted out in this issue. Congratulating the organisers of the seminar, he also called upon the media to take up the issue in a serious manner and cooperate in such a way that bio medical waste management can be tackled.
The issue of phasing out of mercury also needs major awareness programmes and training has to be imparted to people involved in waste management, said DECC Kerala Director, P Sreekantan Nair.
According to K Sajeevan, Chairman, Kerala Pollution Control Board, the Board has envisaged setting up of at least one bio-medical waste management plant in every district of Kerala. Pointing out that the government has seriously considered the issue of phasing out mercury, he added that the disposal of CFL lamps that eject mercury has to be considered in a very serious manner.
Pointing to the fact that bio medical waste was taken seriously only after the advent of ailments such as Hepatitis B and HIV, Toxics Link Program Officer Rahul Thambi pointed out that the 20 percent of waste generated in hospitals are infectious and awareness is needed for effective management and disposal.
Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural event, Padmasree Dr A Marthanda Pillai called for effective bio medical waste management systems in every hospital. He pointed out that a Parliamentary Committee had found that Kerala isn’t adopting any effective system whatsoever. It is a must that bio medical waste generated be disposed and treated at source itself, he added.
Dr C Suresh Kumar, General Secretary, CISSA, J Chandra Babu, Senior Environmental Engineer, CPCB, aand Dr SK Jawahar, President FH-K, also spoke. R VSS Nair, CISSA, coordinated the event.
Topics ranging from Gaps in implementing bio medical waste management in Kerala, Journey towards improving compliance, Status of authorisation and challenges faced, Plugging gaps in managing bio medical waste, Future prospects of bio medical waste management, of on bio medical waste management and phasing out of mercury and mercury waste management in the healthcare sector of Kerala were among the many deliberated at the seminar.