ISLAMABAD: A joint committee comprising officials of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration, Capital Development Authority (CDA), Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) and representatives of hospitals will be constituted to give comprehensive recommendations on hospital waste disposal in ICT limits. It will also determine penalties for improper disposal.
This was decided at a meeting convened by Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Secretary Khalid Habib here on Wednesday in the backdrop of a letter written by the Climate Change Secretary Muhammad Arif Khan on March 2 in which he had expressed grave concerns about hospital waste management.
The CADD secretary convened a meeting with the Islamabad chief commissioner, CDA and Pak-EPA on March 25 to discuss the issue and devise an appropriate solution before taking actions based on Pak-EPA recommendations.
In a letter on February 25, Pak-EPA had recommended closure of hospitals, laboratories and clinics which were operating in populated sectors of Islamabad without adequate medical waste management systems.
Pak-EPA had also opposed opening new hospitals, clinics and laboratories unless they had proper waste management systems and controls in place.
City administrators also expressed concerns based on the Pak-EPA report.
According to the report, around 80 per cent of public and private hospitals, clinics and laboratories do not own or have access to incinerators. Consequently, medical waste is disposed improperly, creating an unnecessary health risk for citizens of Islamabad and nearby areas.
In addition to solid waste, the drainage lines of the diagnostic laboratories in hospitals as well as diagnostic laboratories are disposing of infectious specimens and tissue in municipal drains without any decontamination treatment.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2015.