Underlining the effort to protect the environment and human health from infectious bio-medical waste, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 Rules have been amended to improve compliance and strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of biomedical waste in India. Dr. Harsh Vardhan pointed out that the amended rules stipulate that generators of bio-medical waste such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and dispensaries etc will not use chlorinated plastic bags and gloves beyond March 27, 2019 in medical applications to save the environment. The Minister added that Blood bags have been exempted for phase-out, as per the amended BMW rules, 2018.
Dr. Vardhan stated that these amendments have been made vide Notification G.S.R. 234(E) dated March 16, 2018. The Notification will be available on the website of the Ministry at http://www.moef.gov.in and http://www.moef.nic.in.
The amendment to the Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 was undertaken after several rounds of stakeholder consultations, including Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Central Pollution Control Board, State Pollution Control Boards, and Health Care Facilities.
Salient features of Bio-Medical Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018 are as follows:
- Bio-medical waste generators including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, dispensaries, veterinary institutions, animal houses, pathological laboratories, blood banks, health care facilities, and clinical establishments will have to phase out chlorinated plastic bags (excluding blood bags) and gloves by March 27, 2019.
- All healthcare facilities shall make available the annual report on its website within a period of two years from the date of publication of the Bio-Medical Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018.
- Operators of common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facilities shall establish bar coding and global positioning system for handling of bio-medical waste in accordance with guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board by March 27, 2019.
- The State Pollution Control Boards/ Pollution Control Committees have to compile, review and analyze the information received and send tis information to the Central Pollution Control Board in a new Form (Form IV A), which seeks detailed information regarding district-wise bio-medical waste generation, information on Health Care Facilities having captive treatment facilities, information on common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facilities.
- Every occupier, i.e. a person having administrative control over the institution and the premises generating biomedical waste shall pre-treat the laboratory waste, microbiological waste, blood samples, and blood bags through disinfection or sterilization on-site in the manner as prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO) or guidelines on safe management of wastes from health care activities and WHO Blue Book 2014 and then sent to the Common bio-medical waste treatment facility for final disposal.