PCB goes easy on BMW breaches in Ernakulam govt. hospital

Decision taken considering the pandemic situation and the role of the hospital

The State Pollution Control Board (PCB) will not initiate prosecution measures nor impose environment compensation against the Government Medical College, Ernakulam, for its failure to comply with the Biomedical Waste (BMW) Management Rules, 2016.

The decision was taken by the board chairman owing to the pandemic situation and the efforts of the government in tackling it. It would not be appropriate on the part of the board to initiate such severe action against the hospital authorities, as it is a hospital exclusively meant for taking care of the COVID-19 patients, said a letter issued by the chairman to the Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Environment on May 18. “The recent report received from the district office is not encouraging and the non-compliance is continuing,” it, however, said.

The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal had pulled up the government in February for not complying with its directives for effective implementation of the waste management rules.

The Bench had quoted the reports by the State-Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC) on Solid Waste and the board on the poor functioning of the sewage treatment plant at the Government Medical College, Ernakulam. The government institution must be a model for others in implementing waste management rules, and the government must provide all necessary infrastructure and funds, as health was its primary responsibility, according to the tribunal.

The SLMC and the regional office of the board had suggested imposing environment compensation on the hospital authorities for their failure to comply with the norms. The hospital authorities said that certain technical hurdles had delayed the revamping of the sewage treatment plant. “We have now resumed the work. The storage of the biomedical waste generated on a daily basis is also done as per the directives issued by the board,” they said.

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