New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI) Medical establishments, such as hospitals and nursing homes, have to phase out chlorinated plastic bags, excluding blood bags, by March next year, as the government has amended the bio-medical waste management (BMW) rules.

Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said the rules have been amended to improve compliance to it and strengthen implementation of environmentally sound management of bio-medical waste in India.

“Bio-medical waste generators including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, dispensaries, veterinary institutions, animal houses, pathological laboratories, blood banks, healthcare facilities, and clinical establishments will have to phase out chlorinated plastic bags (excluding blood bags) and gloves by March 27, 2019,” one of the features of the Bio-Medical Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018 said.

Under the amendment, all healthcare facilities will have to make available the annual report on its website within a period of two years from the date of publication of the Bio-Medical Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018.

“Operators of common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facilities shall establish bar coding and global positioning system for handling of bio-medical waste in accordance with guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board by March 27, 2019,” it said.

According to the amendments, every occupier, that is a person having administrative control over the institution generating bio-medical waste, will have to pre-treat the laboratory waste, microbiological waste, blood samples, and blood bags through disinfection or sterilisation on-site as prescribed by WHO or guidelines on safe management of wastes from health care activities and WHO Blue Book 2014.

It will then be sent to the common bio-medical waste treatment facility for final disposal, it said.

The state pollution control boards and committees have to compile, review and analyse the information and send it to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in a new form.

This form seeks detailed information regarding district-wise bio-medical waste generation, information on healthcare facilities having captive treatment facilities, information on common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facilities, it said.

According to the amended BMW rules, blood bags have been exempted from being phased out, the Union minister said, adding these amendments have been made through a notification on March 16 this year.

“The amendment to the Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 was undertaken after several rounds of consultation with stakeholders, including the health ministry, CPCB, state pollution control boards, and healthcare facilities,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.