Health dept. nod for KEIL to process biomedical waste in five districts in Kerala

Report submitted before Southern Bench of National Green Tribunal

The Health Department has ratified the recommendation by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board to permit Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Ltd (KEIL) at Ambalamedu here to collect and process biomedical waste generated in government and private healthcare institutions across five districts that include Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta and Idukki.

The rest of the biomedical waste generated in government and private healthcare institutions in nine districts, which include Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Thrissur, Malappuram, Palakkad, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod, will be collected and processed at the common facility of the Indian Medical Association Goes Eco Friendly (IMAGE) in Palakkad.

The Principal Secretary of the Department of Health and Family Welfare made the government position clear in the report submitted before the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal that had taken suo motu notice of the poor compliance in the implementation of Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016 in the State.

Quoting the order issued by the State Pollution Control Board, the report stated that KEIL can collect and process biomedical waste from government and private healthcare institutions in the five districts going by the guideline prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board that a common treatment facility shall be allowed to cater for the healthcare institutions located within a radius of 75 kilometres.

KEIL was initially permitted to process biomedical waste generated in three districts including Ernakulam, Malappuram and Pathanamthitta. The company had pointed out that the operation of the plant, having the capacity to treat 16 tonnes daily, was not viable with the reduced quantity of waste obtained from government healthcare institutions in three districts.

The data uploaded on the Central Pollution Control Board’s tracking app for COVID-19 biomedical waste showed that the Ambalamedu plant was getting only 3 to 4 tonnes of both COVID-19 and non-COVID biomedical waste from government hospitals in Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta and Malappuram.

The board’s order extending the purview of the Ambalamedu facility to five districts came into effect from September 1 onwards. The Southern Bench of the tribunal had asked the government to examine whether more hospitals can be connected with the facility of KEIL. The Palakkad facility of IMAGE was the only common facility in the State until the KEIL’s plant received the consent to operate on May 11.

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