Karnataka is said to generate an enormous 82 tones of biomedical waste each day that includes expired, spurious and substandard drugs, and pills, syringes and syrups.
According to the Biomedical Rules 2016, expired or discarded medicines, which include pharmaceutical waste such as antibiotics, cytotoxic drugs and ‘contaminated’ items (glass or plastic ampoules, among other things) have to be returned to the manufacturer or supplier for incineration or sent to a common biomedical waste treatment facility.
But in reality, they are dumped in drains and water bodies. Discarded medicines which comes under scientific disposal facility reach one of three centres in Bengaluru (Kanakapura Road, Hosakote, Dobbaspet), where they are incinerated. B Ramanath Rai, Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology, said three more centres are ready to set up in Kolar, Chikkaballapur and Bengaluru Rural.
However, even the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) agrees that there are fewer centres in India.
The problems are detected and it has been noted that during an inspection of hospitals around the State that the KPSCB comprehended the extent of the problem. This is why the board has leaded an external agency to help restructure the process.
“As many as 1,000 kg of discarded medicine was collected by the agency in less than four days,” said KSPCB Chairman Lakshman.
Shashi Mohan, MD and CEO of Satva Health Solutions Pvt. Ltd., the agency sanctioned to collect and dispose discarded medicines.
According to the report, around 1,000 pharmacy outlets in Karnataka, that on an average non-refundable drugs worth Rs. 2,000 expire every month. There are approximately 27,000 pharmacy outlets in Karnataka. What they have it in mind is to collect discarded medicine, transport to a destruction unit and document the process at a cost of Rs. 1,200 per annum from each outlet.
In addition to this, they also want to investigate the possibility of recycling packaging material such as glass, plastic, aluminium and copper, which could be used to manufacture fertilizers and pesticides. The recent report says that such material is being burnt along with the drugs.