Most of the hospitals and diagnostic centres in Chittagong city, including government ones like Chittagong Medical College Hospital and Chittagong General Hospital, are disposing medical waste in an environment-unfriendly manner.
This information was revealed on Monday at a view-exchange meeting held at Chittagong Department of Environment office.
With Dr Alauddin Mazumder, director (health), Chittagong Division in the chair, the meeting was aslo attended by Azadur Rahman Mollick, director, DoE of Chittagong Metropolitan, Dr Mohammad Azizur Rahman Siddiqui, civil surgeon, Chittagong, Sangjucta Das Gupta, assistant director of DoE (Chittagong Metropolitan), Shafiqul Mannan Siddiqui, chief conservancy officer of Chittagong City Corporation and Zamir Uddin, chairman of Chittagong Seba Shangstha.
“It is Chittagong Medical College Hospital which alone produces 10 tonnes of medical waste every day. However, the CMCH does not have any system to dispose the waste in an environment-friendly manner,” said Shafiqul Mannan Siddiqui, chief conservancy officer of the CCC.
“Chittagong General Hospital which is also a government hospital does not dispose its medical waste in an environment-friendly way. Although the CMCH has an incinerator, it is lying unused for a long time,” added the conservancy officer.
“There are 241 private hospitals, diagnostic and pathological centres currently operating in Chittagong city. However, only 15 hospitals and diagnostic centres have obtained Environment Clearance Certificate from the DoE,” said Azadur Rahman Mollick, Director, DoE of Chittagong Metropolitan.
“We will take punitive measures against hospitals and diagnostic centres which will fail to dispose medical waste as per the rules,” added the DoE director.
Dr Alauddin Mazumder, director (health), Chittagong said: “This is very alarming that the medical waste is not managed and processed in an environment-friendly manner. The medical waste is 1,000 times more harmful than household waste.”
It may be mentioned that there is a three-member committee headed by Director (Health) of Chittagong Division to monitor the overall waste management system of hospitals and diagnostic centres in the city.
As per the Medical Waste (management and processing) Rule, 2008, nobody can manage and process medical waste without obtaining license from the concerned authorities. The license shall remain valid upto three years from the date of obtaining the license.
Maximum penalty for violating any rule under the Medical Waste (management and processing) Rule, 2008, is two years’ imprisonment, or a maximum fine of Tk10,000, or both.
The rule also asks the license-holders to take necessary measure for managing and processing medical waste without having any adverse impact on the health of human beings and environment, imparting necessary training to the personnel involved in managing and processing the medical waste and safeguarding the workers and employees involved in disposing medical waste from its hazardous substances.
In case of managing and processing radioactive medical waste, the license-holders shall have to abide by the directives of the Atomic Energy Commission.