On the night of December 2, 1984, 6,00,000 people were exposed to the accidental leakage of nearly 42 tonnes of the toxic gas methyl isocyanate (MIC) at the Union Carbide India Limited factory in Bhopal. It was 33 years ago, but the consequences of that one gas leak continues to haunt the lives of people whose children are born with twisted limbs and other deformities even today. Contamination of ground water resources has had a long history in Bhopal since then.
When Dr Yogesh Kaurav was posted at a primary health centre (PSC) in a suburb of Bhopal, Misrod, he was determined — if not all, at least one major source of ground water contamination, liquid biomedical waste, must be treated. This was the time he, in association with techie Kandarp Chaurasia and data analyst Samanvay Chaturvedi, invented what is dubbed the Automated Portable Effluent Treatment System (APETS).
A low-cost ingenious solution, it claims to treat liquid medical waste, log data and automatically flush water – at one-tenth the cost of a conventional system in hospitals.
Photo Source: Wikimedia
“When liquid hospital waste goes untreated, it increases the risk of cholera, typhoid, plague, Hepatitis B, diphtheria, besides ground water contamination. As per norms, the waste needs to be treated before being flushed,” said Dr Kaurav, in an interview with the Economic Times.
In the past year, multiple models have been upgraded and tested at the Primary Health Centre (PHC).
The government is pressing stricter rules for segregation and handling of solid bio-medical waste as per National Green Tribunal (NGT) guidelines. But only few hospitals adhere to the rules on handling, treatment and disposal of liquid biomedical waste.
This liquid waste, when treated unsuitably and discharged in sewage, pollutes ground and drinking water. The Biomedical Waste Management and Handling Rules, 2016 have laid down that liquid pathological and chemical waste should be properly treated before being discharged into public sewer systems. This follows a complete process of segregation of liquid waste at source, ensuring pre-treatment or neutralization and disposal of liquid waste in accordance with the Water (Prevention and Control Pollution) Act, 1974 (6 of 1974).
All hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, dispensaries, veterinary institutions, animal houses, pathological laboratories, blood banks etc come under the purview of the rule.
The APETS system requires a large space to be carried out.
“To integrate the treatment plants would have to spend about Rs 50 lakh. They are also not suitable for low resource clinical settings. Unable of logging and updating of required data. Our solution accounts for biological and chemical oxygen demand,” Dr Kaurav told ET.
The system is under review of leading experts and organisations.
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