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Biomedical waste: A threat to Bangalore
According to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) statistics, over 700 health units and hospitals in Bangalore have been dumping medical waste in open garbage dumps. The infected waste dumped at landfills sites and drains consists of cotton swabs and bandages infected with blood and other body fluids, IV fluid bags, needles, catheters, human tissues as well as body parts. Besides, chemical waste comprising leftover medicines and pharmaceuticals and hazardous waste - like waste from radio therapy units that contain radioactive chemicals - cause leaching of these chemicals into the soil, air and water as well and cause health hazards to those handling it without protection.

In the city, BBMP has authorised Sembramky Environmental Management Pvt. Ltd. and Maridi Eco Industries Pvt. Ltd. to collect biomedical waste. It has categorised 12 different types of health units, including hospitals, super-specialty hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, Ayush centres, etc. The biomedical waste (Management and Handling) rules 1998, state that biomedical waste is any waste generated during diagnosis, treatment or immunisation of human beings or animals or in research activities. BBMP may soon issue closure notices to at least 1,964 health care units for not obtaining a trade license. It is found that, of these, 709 have not registered with the BBMP’s authorised agencies to dispose of biomedical waste. According to Section 353 of Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, defaulting health units have to pay a penalty or face closure.

Moreover, not only are Bangaloreans worried about the garbage mess created in the city - affecting their health and lifestyle - but industrialists, too, are taking the garbage around their work environment seriously, due to which they are losing out on orders from international companies. They claim that they are unable to invite foreign clients to their factories in the city, since the clients believe that the situation in the factory premises could be the same as it is outside.

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