New Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules

The draft Bio-medical Waste Rules were published in June, 2015 inviting suggestions from Public. The suggestions / objections received were then examined by the Working Group of Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and based on the recommendations of the Working Group, the Ministry has published the Bio- medical Waste Management Rules, 2016.

(Note: In light of the above notified rules, students should have an understanding of the important aspects of these rules both for UPSC preliminary and Main Examination)

What is Bio-medical waste?

  1. Biomedical waste comprises human & animal anatomical waste, treatment apparatus like needles, syringes and other materials used in health care facilities in the process of treatment and research.
  2. This waste is generated during diagnosis, treatment or immunisation in hospitals, nursing homes, pathological laboratories, blood bank, etc.

Importance of Biomedical waste disposal:

  • Scientific disposal of biomedical waste through segregation, collection and treatment in an environmentally sound manner minimises the adverse impact on health workers and on the environment.
  • The quantum of waste generated in India is estimated to be 1-2 kg per bed per day in a hospital.
  • 85% of the hospital waste is non-hazardous, 15% is infectious/hazardous.
  • Mixing of hazardous results in to contamination and makes the entire waste hazardous.
  • There is necessity to segregate and treat because
  • Improper disposal increases risk of infection.
  • Encourages recycling of prohibited disposables and disposed drugs and
  • Develops resistant microorganisms

What are the salient features of BMW Management Rules, 2016?

  1. Bio-medical waste has been classified in to 4 categories instead 10 to improve the segregation of waste at source.
  2. Phase-out the use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves and blood bags within two years.
  3. The ambit of the rules has been expanded to include vaccination camps, blood donation camps, surgical camps or any other healthcare activity.
  4. Pre-treatment of the laboratory waste, microbiological waste, blood samples and blood bags through disinfection or sterilisation on-site in the manner as prescribed by WHO or NACO.
  5. State Government to provide land for setting up common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facility.
  6. No occupier shall establish on-site treatment and disposal facility, if a service of `common bio-medical waste treatment facility is available at a distance of seventy-five kilometer.
  7. The new rules prescribe more stringent standards for incinerator to reduce the emission of pollutants in environment;
  8. Inclusion of emissions limits for Dioxin and furans;

(Note: Students should read about dioxin and furans and must have basic idea from UPSC preliminary exam point of view)

  1. Establish a Bar-Code System for bags or containers containing bio-medical waste for disposal.
  2. Provide training to all its health care workers and immunise all health workers regularly.

Will this make a big difference to Clean India Mission?

Yes, the newly framed bio-medical waste management rules is expected to change the way India used to manage this waste earlier- How?

  • Under the new regime, the coverage has increased and also provides for pre-treatment of lab waste, blood samples, etc.
  • It mandates bar code system for proper control.and it has simplified categorisation and authorisation.
  • Most importantly it has time target of two years to phase-out the use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves and blood bags.

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