Introduction

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has amended the Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 (hereinafter referred to as “Parent Rules”) and brought into force the Bio-Medical Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018 (hereinafter referred to as “Amendment Rules).[1] The Amendment Rules seek to improve compliance and strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of biomedical waste in India. 

About the Parent Rules 

The Parent Rules were notified on March 28, 2016, to improve the collection, segregation, treatment and disposal of bio-medical wastes in an environmentally sound manner. These Parent Rules apply to all persons who generate, collect, receive, store, transport, treat, dispose, or handle bio medical waste in any form. Further, establishments generating bio-medical wastes and common bio-medical waste treatment facility have to obtain authorization from the State Pollution Control Board and adhere to the compliances as mentioned in the Parent Rules.

Phasing out of chlorinated plastic bags

The Amendment Regulations have extended the date of phasing out use of chlorinated plastic bags (excluding blood bags) and gloves by establishments handling bio medical wastes by one year, i.e., March 27, 2019. The Parent Rules had provided the last date of phasing out use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves and blood bags to be March 27, 2018.

Establishment of Bar Code System

The last date for establishments generating bio-medical wastes to establish a bar-code system for bags or containers containing such wastes to be sent out of premises for further treatment has been extended to March 27, 2019, as against the previous date of March 27, 2017 as mentioned in the Parent Rules.

Establishment of Global Positioning System

The last date for operators of common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facility to establish bar-code system and global positioning system for handling bio-medical wastes has been extended to March 27, 2019, as against the previous date of March 27, 2017 as mentioned in the Parent Rules.

Pre-treatment of laboratory waste

Establishments handling bio medical wastes are under obligation to pre-treat the laboratory waste, microbiological waste, blood samples and blood bags through disinfection or sterilisation on-site in the manner as prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on Safe management of wastes from health care activities and WHO Blue Book, 2014 before sending to waste treatment facilities. The Parent Rules required such wastes to be treated in the manner prescribed by the World Health Organization or National AIDs Control Organization.