The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), alarmed by the quantity of biomedical waste being disposed of arbitrarily, posing a danger to both the environment and public health, has roped in a private agency to take remedial action.

An estimated 82 tonnes of biomedical waste is generated in the State each day, and that includes expired, spurious and substandard medicines and syringes.

Expired or discarded medicines should be returned to the manufacturers or suppliers for proper disposal, or sent to common biomedical waste treatment facilities, as per the rules. At present, there are three waste disposal centres at Bengaluru, and three more are set to come up in Kolar, Chikkaballa pur and Bengaluru Rural. Yet, these facilities are woefully inadequate, the KSPCB admits.

Satva Health Solutions, the private agency that has been hired to sort out the problem, collected as much as 1000 kg of discarded medicines in less than four days, according to KSPCB Chairman Lakshman.

Sashi Mohan, Satva’s MD and CEO, said non-refundable drugs worth an average of Rs. 2,000 expire every month. Much of this is dumped in water bodies and drains. Satva intends to collect medicines that are to be discarded from the approximately 27,000 pharmacy outlets in Karnataka, transport it to a destruction unit and document the process at a cost of Rs. 1,200 per annum at each outlet.

The agency will also explore the viability of recycling packaging material for use in manufacture of fertilizers and pesticides.


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