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Biomedical waste incinerator proposed for city

There is only one such facility, named IMAGE, at Palakkad to handle the biomedical waste generated in hospitals and medical institutions across the State

The Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Limited, which runs a Common Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility (CHWTSDF) at Ambalamedu, has submitted a detailed project report to the State government and the State Pollution Control Board seeking approval to set up an incinerator for the treatment and disposal of biomedical waste.

There is only one such facility, named IMAGE (Indian Medical Association Goes Eco-friendly), at Palakkad to handle the biomedical waste generated in hospitals and medical institutions across the State.

“Our proposal is to set up the incinerator on 2.5 acres alongside our existing facility,” N.K. Pillai, CEO, Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Limited, told The Hindu.

The company has also sought the subsidy granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forest to such facilities. However, the Union government’s subsidy component will have to be matched by the State government concerned.

“The subsidy is vital for the viability of the project since not all medical institutions will be able to afford the charge for the service,” Mr. Pillai said.

He said the absence of sufficient facilities for treating biomedical waste is harmful on more than one count.

It is estimated that about one lakh tonnes of biomedical waste is generated in the State annually by medical institutions, including big and small hospitals, clinics and other smaller medical facilities.

A single waste disposal facility means it is hard pressed to cater to the entire demand, besides leading to the violation of the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, which prohibits transportation of such waste beyond 150 km, Mr. Pillai said.

If the proposal is approved, the operator of the facility will have to collect the waste from hospitals on a daily basis since biomedical waste cannot be stored for long. The onus will be on hospitals to segregate waste based on their nature and keep it in bags of different colours.

All kinds of waste cannot be incinerated.

Such waste will have to be sent through autoclaves to sterilize them while the plastic components autoclaved will be shredded and dispatched for recycling.

For instance, plastic disposable syringes will be dealt with in this manner while the needles will have to be separated and destroyed to ensure that they are not reused.

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