PESHAWAR: The health department has drafted hospital waste management rules to ensure proper disposal of waste generated at the public and private medical institutions and safeguard people and staffers against its hazardous effects.

The Waste Management Rules 2018, to come into play immediately, have been drawn up in line with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Act, 2014, according to officials.

“The set of rules to be approved by provincial cabinet seeks to dispose of properly chemical waste, solid, liquid and gaseous chemicals from diagnostic and experimental work, cleaning processes, housekeeping and disinfecting procedures to minimise the harmful impact of hospital waste,” they said.

According to the rules, provincial hospital waste advisory committee would be set up with health secretary as its head while divisional hospital waste supervisory committees will be headed by commissioners and district committee will work with the relevant deputy commissioner as its head.

Committees will be formed at different levels for enforcement

The committees would ensure disposal of mercury waste from broken clinical equipment and spillage and cadmium waste from discarded batteries, medical supplies, hospital, clinics, laboratories and veterinary facilities, waste blood, tissue, organs of human and animal bodies in addition to cytotoxic drugs, vomitus feces, syringes, vials, pharmaceutical waste, discarded solid, liquid and gaseous chemicals from diagnostic and experimental work and from cleaning and disinfecting procedures, radioactive wastes, infectious waste, pathogen such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, needles, syringes, scalpels, infusion sets, saw, knives and blades.

The rules provide management of risk and non-risk waste through documentation, segregation, collection, transportation, storage, disposal, minimisation and reuse. The hospital waste management supervisory committees would be established at provincial, divisional, district and tehsil levels for monitoring, supporting, facilitating, guiding and directing the public or private hospitals for implementation of the law.

The medical superintendent of the public hospitals will constitute hospital waste management team. The private hospitals would also form hospital waste management team under the rules.

One of the team members will be designated by the medical superintendent as the waste management officer (WMO), who will act as secretary of the hospital waste management team. The team will take care of preparation, monitoring, periodic review, revision or updating if necessary and implementation of the waste management plan, and for supervision of all actions taken in compliance with the provision of the rules.

There will be monthly meeting of the waste management team at each hospital. The WMO will also arrange for a waste audit of the hospital by an external agency in consultation with the deputy commissioner or any other officer authorised by him.

The heads of the departments at the hospitals will take care of management of waste. They will ensure that all the doctors, nurses and clinical staff are aware of and, where required, properly trained in waste management procedures.

The officials said that infection control and radiology officers would give advice for management of radioactive and infected waste. They said that hospitals would be responsible for waste segregation and disposal of medical equipment and supplies.

The waste will be collected in accordance with the schedules specified in the waste management plan and sanitary staff will wear protective clothing including face masks, industrial aprons, leg protector’s industrial boots and disposable or heavy-duty gloves as required.

The hospitals will make proper arrangements for transportation of waste. An incineration facility for radioactive waste will require registration with Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2018

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