Audit: MPCB has failed to address veterinary bio-medical waste issue

With more people adopting pets, the number of veterinary clinics and hospitals have been growing. However, the Auditor General (AG) of Maharashtra has found the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) inadequate when it comes to disposing the bio-medical waste (BMW) generated at such clinics.

This was revealed in the recent audit of the MPCB's office, a copy of which has been acquired by The Indian Express under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

The AG, in its audit, found that MPCB has failed to keep a track of the BMW produced in veterinary establishments in Pune region.

"Information about the treatment of BMW generated by veterinary institutions was available in respect to the Satara sub-region only. Such information was neither available about Pune I and II , Pimpri Chinchwad and Solapur region, nor were any efforts made to obtain the same through surveys etc," the report said.

According to the BioMedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 1998, waste generated by treatment, diagnosis or immunization of humans or animals has to be treated in a specific manner. While local self governing bodies are meant to dispose of the waste, the MPCB is supposed to keep track of the method of disposal. It is supposed to take penal action against the local body in case it fails to dispose BMW properly.

The audit report, talking about the Satara sub-region, stated that none of the 162 institutes have obtained membership of the common BMW treatment facility and that 87 of them have not even furnished the required undertaking.

"This issue poses a serious threat to the surrounding environment and people living there," the audit observed.

Speaking about the issue, Shiv Sena corporator Seema Salve blamed both civic bodies and the MPCB. Salve said that in the absence of any method to dispose the waste, it is either dumped with common garbage or found littered on roads.

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