By June, common bio-medical waste treatment facility at Deonar

By June this year, the bio-medical waste generated from municipal and private hospitals and medical institutions will be stored and disposed of at a common bio-medical waste treatment facility at Deonar dumping ground. The BMC will soon start developing the common disposal facility over 4,000 sq metre of land at Deonar. The work has been awarded to SMSL-Watergrace Products (joint-venture) on BOOT (build, own, operate and transfer) basis for 20 years. The development is significant as only last month, the Bombay High Court came down heavily on hospitals not complying with Bio-medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, and had sent notices to erring hospitals, including the civic KEM and Bhagwati hospital and state-government's JJ hospital. The court had stated that such hospitals would be ordered to close down if they failed to comply with the rules within the stipulated time. The facility is being developed in consultation with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) which had suggested that the BMC review the policy for bio-medical disposal by appointing a separate operator for collection, transportation and treatment system instead of separate agencies. In 2000, the civic body had entrusted E A Infrastructure Operations Pvt Ltd the treatment of bio-medical waste generated in the city for a period of 10 years. The treatment facility at Sewree started in 2002. However, a year later the incinerator started facing problems and had to be closed down due to technical problems. In the meantime, anatomical waste was treated at the incinerator plant at Taloja. The civic administration also decided to appoint divisionwise contractors to transport and treat the anatomical waste at Taloja, but MPCB suggested that there should not be separate agencies for collection/transportation and another for disposal. Accordingly, with the help of MPCB as 'project management consultancy' the BMC finalised an operator. An expert committee of officials from the government, academicians and representatives from hospitals associations helped in selecting--SMSL-Watergrace products (JV). The BMC will pay Rs 21.22 lakh to the MPCB as