In addition to allopathy hospitals, health care facilities offering Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy services, the physiotherapy centers, eye-dental clinics, blood banks, and veterinary clinics were also required to complete the process of compliance with clinical waste management regulations and the Clinical Establishments Act. Around 2,000 small-scale health centers including non-bedded clinics from Tiruppur, Coimbatore, Pollachi, Udumalpet and Mettupalayam have entered into an agreement with Kovai Bio-Waste Management Private Limited for the collection and disposal of biomedical waste. The National Green Tribunal had set 30th September as the deadline for the process. 

These small-scale healthcare centers were also asked to obtain the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) clearances to operate in accordance with various provisions of the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act.

However, according to doctors who requested clearance, the process failed because the online TNPCB interface created for the application had some glitches. “There are several mandatory fields to be filled up that are not applicable to healthcare centers. The application could be submitted only when all mandatory fields are filled. When we contacted TNPCB officials, we were asked to write ‘not applicable’ on paper, scan it and upload it to complete such mandatory fields,” a doctor of a city-based clinic said.

As a solution to special camps were held for member doctors to complete the TNPCB registration process and also to tie up with the common treatment facility for disposal of biomedical waste by IMA.

Mariappan, president of the Coimbatore Branch of IMA, informed that the IMA headquarters has already written to the NGT to relax the biomedical waste management norms for non-bedded clinics. Another common treatment facility called Tekno Therm is collecting biomedical waste from larger hospitals in Coimbatore, Nilgiris, and Tirupur.