THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: () is set to enforce the implementation of barcoded labelling system for biomedical management in . Central pollution control board () has mandated this system to ascertain the quantity of biomedical waste being collected, treated and disposed.

It is being mooted with a set of advantages like prevention of pilferage of biomedical waste at healthcare facilities, daily check on occupier, transporter and operator, tracking of biomedical waste from source of generation to intended destination.

The biomedical waste management system – being run by IMAGE that has 11,776 healthcare establishments affiliated to it – has already implemented barcoded system as per Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016. IMAGE handles over 90% of the biomedical waste generated in Kerala. As per latest guidelines, healthcare facilities (HCF) in Kerala are supposed to implement barcoded labelling system by March 2019. Data compiled by PCB in 2016 showed that Kerala generates 37,773.45kg of biomedical waste/day on an average and same quantity is treated and disposed each day. And 6,095.45kg is treated by captive treatment facilities by healthcare facilities each day.

“The system has got so many advantages, the major one being quantifying waste on a daily basis. Nobody can bypass the system and indulge in malpractice once barcoded system comes into effect. Every hospital is given a unique code and covers are colour coded,” said PCB officials.

They added that IMAGE’s barcoded system differs in some ways from the latest CPCB guidelines. New guidelines by CPCB states that operator of a CBWTF (common biomedical waste treatment facility) should purchase and operate a barcode-based waste management system software. The software should support multiple user logins for each healthcare facility, admin login and regulatory login for PCB, CPCB and central/state health departments.

The operator must carry a scanner along with printer and weighing machine in its transportation vehicle. On completion of scanning and weighing all bags/containers, the scanner system should generate a print a waste receipt automatically that shall be signed and handed over to HCF immediately. At the facility, each bag must be scanned by the operator prior to its treatment to ensure that there is no pilferage during transportation between HCFs and CBWTF premises.

“Kerala has got one CBWTF and hence covering long distances over a short period of time is important. This makes it difficult for the operator to weigh each type of waste at the source as it would consume a lot of time. We are working with the operator to make it possible,” said a PCB official.

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