Officials of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) asserted that Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and homeopathy clinics now have to follow the bio-medical waste rules. Waste composed in ayurvedic pharmacies and hospitals is mainly organic but they contain items contaminated with blood, body fluids, infected dressings, clothes, bed mattresses, cotton swabs, etc. So now according to the new amendment, these AYUSH hospitals, research centers, vaccination, and medical/surgical camps have to hold proper facilities that will scientifically discard the waste.

Amar Supate, principal scientific officer and head of bio-medical waste management, MPCB, told TOI “There are certain therapies and treatment modalities, which generate this type of waste at non-allopathic health care units. We want them to seek registration to common bio-medical waste treatment facilities to ensure unscientific disposal of such waste.”

However, the operators of non-allopathy centers argued that their inclusion in the rules of this waste is impractical. Mandar Ranade, head of medico-legal cell at National Integrated Medical Association, India chapter, said,” These norms will serve no purpose if they are applied to homeopathy and Ayurveda doctors. Barring panchakarma therapies, which generate a certain amount of bio waste, none of the other forms of treatment generate any such waste. Similarly, Unani and Siddha clinics also don’t generate bio-medical waste.”

Public health expert Manisha Naik, assistant medical officer of health, Pune Municipal Corporation, informed, “We will have to seek guidance about the new norms from the MPCB officials as some of the norms are not very clear.”