Clinical wastes pose health hazards in SylhetZaman Monir . Sylhet
Haphazard dumping of clinical wastes in the Sylhet city is a serious threat to public health in the absence of specific guideline and monitoring over the matter.
According to the statistics available with the district health office there are more than 100 public and private hospitals and clinics as well as diagnostic centres in the city and on its outskirts, but none of them have the incinerator or wastes treatment plant.
Sources in the divisional Department of Environment said 301 enlisted medical institutions including 116 hospitals and clinics and 185 diagnostic centres are operating in the division.
‘Only five of the medical institutions have approval of the environment department, which is mandatory to run a clinic or diagnostic centre in accordance with the Environment Protection Act 1995,’ DoE inspector Faruk Ahmed said.
He said that setting up incinerator and maintaining proper waste management was the main condition for getting the department’s clearance to set up a medical centre.
Faruk also added that the five private hospitals, who got the clearance certificate, however, are not maintaining the government directives after they were provided with the approval certificate.
Residents of different areas in the city have alleged that the medical wastes, including blood-soaked cotton, gauges, needles, blades, injection syringes, broken bottles of medicines and even the amputated human organs, are being dumped haphazardly in the nearby dustbins or open spaces by authorities of both public and private-run hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres.
Being asked, Gynecology specialist Farhath Mahal, also director of a private-run clinic in the city, said the medical waste management was an expensive procedure. ‘So, the government should set up clinical wastes management plant in the city.’
Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital deputy director Ehteshamul Haque Chowdhury also admitted that they were dumping the wastes into dustbins from where the city corporation authorities collect them.
Talking to New Age, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology environmental and urban engineering professor Zahir Bin Alam said it was a grave concern for the environment and public health since most of the private hospitals and clinics were located in the residential areas of the city.
‘The urban children are being forced to grow in an unhygienic atmosphere in the absence of specific guideline and monitoring over medical wastes management,’ he commented.
The district private clinic inspection committee member Fayez Ahmed, also former civil surgeon, said the Department of Environment was responsible for looking after the matter.
‘A written request to take effective step in this regard was sent to the health ministry in 2010, but no initiative has yet been taken by the authorities concerned,’ he added.
Being contacted, Sylhet environment department deputy director SM Fazlul Karim Chowdhury told New Age on Thursday that they already had served notices to the hospital and clinics authorities, asking them to collect clearance to run their institutions.
‘Owners of the private hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres have also been asked to take combined efforts to set up an incinerator for their wastes management,’ Chowdhury said, adding that punitive step would be taken against the medical institution authorities who would show reluctance to fulfilling the government condition.
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