Green bench imposes Rs 50k fines, warns of higher fines if systems not put in place
The National Green Tribunal (NGT), headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, on Monday (August 21) came down heavily on several government hospitals for letting into the municipal sewage system extremely hazardous and contaminated waste from its operation theatres and other treatment rooms, without any control.
The bench imposed nominal fines of Rs 50,000, but warned of heavier fines if proper treatment systems are not put in place within six months.
The bench has been hearing a petition filed by Almitra H. Patel specifically against Lady Hardinge Medical College, though the scope has been widened to include eight more government hospitals.
On the last date of hearing, the bench imposed fines on nine hospitals and directed the NHAI and the EDMC to file reports regarding the Gazipur dumping site.
On Monday, the bench observed that because these hospitals were government hospitals, “they are expected to do better on standards of hygiene and ensure that they don’t do any environmental pollution which can affect public health. Reports say that they don’t have any basic infrastructure for pollution and waste.”
The bench ordered that appropriate action will have to be taken by the hospitals. “The hospitals generate biomedical waste, sewage, municipal waste and highly hazardous waste which are discharged from operation theatres and other treatment rooms of the hospitals. In fact, the concerned authority ought to inspect these hospitals and issue directions,” said the bench. The bench constituted a committee which includes former members of the NGT.
The bench, thereafter, imposed the Rs 50,000 fines on the hospitals for lack of dangerous waste disposal mechanism. The bench also warned them of higher fines if mechanisms are not put in place.
The following were the directions of the bench:
- “Because of the lack of any basic anti-pollution mechanism, a fine of Rs 50,000 is imposed, keeping in mind that these are government hospitals. But it must be clear that if these hospitals are again found flouting rules, then the higher fines will have to be paid. This will be deducted from the salaries of the officials of these hospitals.
- “The hospitals must comply with the recommendations of the committee and rectify their anti-pollution mechanism within a period of six months.
- “In the event of any violation, the director, medical superintendent and other officials will be liable to be held in contempt.
- “The CPCB and the newly-constituted committee will visit these hospitals after two months and submit its status report.”
The hospitals in question are: IG, ESI Hospital, RML, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College.
—India Legal Bureau