GILGIT: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued notices to various medical care units on Wednesday in Gilgit town for dumping hazardous waste in public places.
In this regard, EPA Assistant Director Khadim Hussain has written a letter to the director health services as well as other private hospitals and clinics.
He warned that facilities could be sealed if a proper waste disposal mechanism were not put in place within the next two weeks.
“It has been repeatedly observed that hospitals [public and private sector] clinics and laboratories dump hazardous healthcare waste adjacent to residential areas and along roadsides,” the letter states.
Furthermore, the practice not only adversely affects the environment but also pose serious threats to the population living in surrounding areas.
There has been a rise in the spread of contagious diseases in Gilgit such as TB, poliovirus, HIV, as well as, Hepatitis B and C in Gilgit.
One of the chief reasons for this is believed to be the dumping of clinical waste.
The Narcotics Control Committee also recently took notice of the reuse of syringes by drug addicts.
The committee called on the EPA to take legal notice against the culprits responsible for this.
Hussain told The Express Tribune on Wednesday that the used items which include syringes and butterfly needles are laced with blood and other intravenous fluids.
He added that once dumped, these items are then reused by drug addicts.
“This is a serious issue which we can’t just ignore,” said Hussain, adding that “This needs to end now.”
The EPA assistant director said that the open dumping of the waste is a violation of the Environmental Protection Act 2014 and Hospital Waste Management Rules 2005.
The management of various hospitals have been told given directives to incinerate the waste two months ago, Hussain added.
During an inspection of certain hospitals, the incinerators were found to be out of order and the staff had been using them as rubbish bins, he said.
Apart from the two main government hospitals, Agha Khan Center, Gilgit, al Hayat Hospital, Danyor and Sehat Foundation have been issued notices.