Monday, January 18, 2010

Deadline may not be met

Deadline may not be met

Afshan Yasmeen
Hospitals may need two months to set up treatment plants
Nine hospitals served ultimatum by the KSPCB to make arrangements for treating liquid waste

BWSSB is finding it difficult to set up the plants in view of the present drainage system

Bangalore: Even as the February 13 deadline set by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) for nine government hospitals — to set up liquid biomedical waste treatment plants or face closure – is nearing, it is unlikely that the plants will be ready by then.

According to hospital authorities, while work on the plants has started in some hospitals, it is yet to take off in at least two hospitals because of problems that delayed the process of identifying land. The drainage system in all hospitals has made work difficult for the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) that is executing the project. BWSSB officials said they might need at least two more months to complete the work.

Under directions from the Lok Adalat, the KSPCB had issued closure orders to nine hospitals — Victoria, Bowring, Vani Vilas, Minto, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD), K.C. General, Haji Sir Ismail Sait Ghosha, Jayanagar General Hospital and K.R. Puram General Hospital — in June 2009 for not having scientific liquid biomedical waste treatment plants even after being issued several notices.

But following an appeal in July 2009 by heads of departments of Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education, who sought seven months to set up the plants, the Lok Adalat asked the KSPCB to keep the closure orders in abeyance till February 13, 2010.

BWSSB Chief Engineer (Waste Water Management) S.M. Basvaraju said the board required at least two more months to complete work. “Work was delayed because the hospital authorities took time to identify land and hand it over to us. Civil works are on and as we are using pre-fabricated material for the plants, we will be able to complete 50 per cent of the work before the deadline,” he said.

KSPCB officials said the Lok Adalat would take a decision if the February 13 deadline was not met.

“We had a meeting with the hospital heads last month and they had given us an undertaking that they will complete work by the February 13 deadline,” said K.M. Lingaraju, KSPCB Senior Environment Officer.

G.T. Subash, Dean and Director of BMCRI, said the hospitals, as of now, were disinfecting at source all liquid waste generated from laboratories, blood banks and operation theatres with one per cent sodium hypochlorite.

“It is then being discharged into the sewerage lines of BWSSB as per the rules,” he said.

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