How plastic refuse falls into wrong hands

Despite imparting training on segregating hospital waste into different categories, nearly 35 per cent of the hospitals still do not separate waste as per the guidelines of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).  

The two privates companies Maridi Eco Industries Private Limited and Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited not only collect the biomedical waste but also educate the hospital staff by providing training on waste segregation.

According to Maridi, most of the hospitals segregate the hospital waste according to the colour code, but nearly 35 percent of the biomedical waste is still not being disposed in the right manner. 

Many private hospitals do not even dispose their plastic waste which mainly include, syringes, IV fluid bottles and tubes in full capacity as the quantity Maridi receives is comparatively less than what the hospitals utilise. 

Hospitals, dispensaries, health centres and maternity homes belonging to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and some of the government, aided and autonomous hospital institutions do not dispose the plastic waste from the hospitalss. 

Instead of handing over the plastic waste to Maridi and Ramky which are the designated agents to collect biomedical waste, a few hospitals sell the syringes and IV fluid bottles to plastic vendors who in turn recycle and sell it to private medical outlets. 

Dr Seemanthini Desai, Consultant Microbiologist and Infection Control Officer at a biotechnology research institute has found many instances where used syringes were reused by repacking them and selling them in smaller medical shops.

Seemanthini Desai was the one who exposed the sale of ear buds made from used hospital cotton at traffic signals . 

"It is important to dispose all your waste to the designated agency only.  There are many private and government hospitals which do not dispose the plastic waste and sell them to plastic vendors who misuse these infected waste," says Seemanthini Desai.

According to the doctor, the KSPCB is not very stringent about private hospitals not disposing their plastic waste. There is need for better policy in this regard, she feels.

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