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PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday gave the directors general of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health services directorate and environmental protection agency a fortnight to separately give written recommendations on the proper disposal of wastes in major public and private sector hospitals of the province.

Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Mohammad Ayub Khan observed that after receiving the recommendations of the health services directorate and EPA, the court would issue appropriate orders to the relevant government agencies on the hospital waste disposal in the province.

The directions were issued by the court during the hearing into the petition of lawyer Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel against the unsafe disposal of hospital and medical wastes in the province.

The petitioner had sought the court’s orders for the government and relevant authorities to follow the rules and standard operating procedure for the purpose.

Observes it’ll later issue appropriate orders to relevant govt agencies for the purpose

He claimed that medical, hospital and clinical wastes were not disposed of in accordance with the SOP provided by the government.

The petitioner said the Khyber Teaching Hospital had a waste burning chamber, which caused pollution and diseases in the area.

EPA director general Dr Mohammad Bashir told the bench that he had already visited several health facilities.

He said some leading private hospitals of the provincial capital had adopted a proper waste management mechanism but the situation in some government hospitals in that respect was not up to the mark.

Dr Bashir said he had already submitted his report on the matter to the court.

The bench directed him to give his recommendations in writing about how to improve the situation and observed that in light of those recommendations, it would make an appropriate order.

It also directed an official of the health directorate, who appeared on Thursday, to ask the DG (health services) to submit recommendations in that respect within a fortnight.

The official said several major public sector hospitals were declared medical teaching institutions, which were currently autonomous having own boards of governors.

The petitioner said though the court had taken notice of the issue and had issued several orders for improvement of the situation, the relevant quarters hadn’t acted accordingly.

He added that recently, newspapers published photographs showing the unsafe disposal of hospital wastes and the oozing of blood, along the main road near the Lady Reading Hospital.

The respondents in the petition are the provincial government through the chief secretary; local government secretary; hospital directors of three major public sector hospitals, including Khyber Teaching Hospital, Lady Reading Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex; Health Regulatory Authority through its chairman; Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency through its director general, and KP EPA through its DG.

The petitioner said the federal government had passed the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997, whereas the provincial government had passed the KP Environmental Protection Act, 2014. He added that the Hospital Waste Management Rules 2005 had already been farmed.

The petitioner claimed that he had prepared a questionnaire and spent few months doing a research on whether the public and private sector hospitals and private laboratories operating in the province followed SOPs, but he was shocked to know that no hospital had incinerator to properly dispose of medical, hospital and clinical wastes.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2017