Medical wastes on roads, water bodies raise concerns

Rashad Ahamad | Published: 00:28, Apr 08,2017


Medical wastes dumped beside a city corporation dustbin in front of Dhaka Medical College pose serious health hazards. — Sanaul Haque

Unabated biomedical waste dumping on roads, waste bins, drains, water bodies and open spaces in the capital and elsewhere in the country raised serious public health and environmental concern.
Many hospitals and clinics stealthily dump medical wastes into water bodies and open spaces ignoring mandatory requirement to disinfect the wastes before disposal said inhabitants of affected localities in the capital.
They said that they find none to address their concern over dumping of infectious and even poisonous wastes in the capital’s open spaces close to densely populated neighbourhoods.
The question of greater concern is that, they said, neither the government nor the hospitals and the clinics seemed to have any mechanism for dangerous waste disposal.
Public health experts expressed concern over the absence any mechanism in place to sterilize or burn clinical wastes.
Civilized nations use autoclaving to sterilize clinical wastes or burn them which is known as incineration.
Hospital and clinic owners have legal obligations to properly dispose of medical wastes said public health officials.
Except the ICDDR,B and the Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital, no other hospital in the country have the time tested facilities for the disposal of clinical wastes, they said.
Private clinics and diagnostic centres in the country get their biomedical wastes disposed of by Prism Bangladesh Foundation, a specialized NGO, said Bangladesh
Private Clinic & Diagnostic Owner’s Association treasure and owner of Jahan Ara Clinic Pvt. Ltd at Uttora Model Town Khondkar Rahat Hossain.
The association’s membership includes 1,033 diagnostic centres and 610 clinics in the capital alone, according to the information posted on the website of the association.
PBF executive director Kh Anisur Rahman said they have agreements with 772 hospitals in the capital for their waste
Despite signing agreements with Prism some of hospitals sell used syringes, blood bags and other wastes particularly made of plastic instead of leaving them for proper disposal, he said.
He said that Prism does not collect medical waste when untrained staff of hospitals mix them with kitchen waste.
No dental clinic became Prism’s client he said.
Medical wastes is generated by 20,000 hospital, clinics and diagnostic centres across the country, 5,000 of them in the capital, said health service director for hospitals and clinics Dr Abul Kaiser Mahmood Saidur Rahman.
He said that some of the NGOS were providing partial services in select areas like Prism Bangladesh Foundation in the capital, Innovation in Comilla and Chittagong, Swapno in Bogra, Dinajpur and Rangpur and Prodipon in Khulna.
Sylhet City Corporation chief executive officer Enamul Habib told New Age that they collect and dump medical wastes treating them as kitchen wastes as they have no incineration or autoclave machines.
Dhaka North City Corporation has no capacity for medical waste disposal admitted DNCC chief waste management officer commodore MA Razzak. 

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