In a move seeking modifications to the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) directives, the civic body recently sent a letter to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) asking them to allow a representation on the issue of effluent treatment plants (ETP) being made mandatory for 100-plus bedded hospitals in the city.
Of the 74-odd 100-plus bed hospitals in the entire city, over 70 per cent do not have an ETP facility.
“We have written to the Board explaining that the demand to create an ETP is not feasible. There is no space to accommodate the huge infrastructure that these plants require,” Dr Suhasini Nagda, director of medical education and major hospitals, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said.
Nagda is not the only one opposing the CPCB’s directive. Last month, Krishnakant Mehta, CEO of Mumbai’s Association of Hospitals – under which 40 hospitals are registered— also said that private hospitals are against this move.
“The hospitals have several discharge lines. They will all have to be combined towards a single outlet. It is not practical for already constructed hospitals as massive changes will have to be made,” Mehta said.
Hospitals’ effluent treatment essentially involves treatment of waste water and other forms of liquid waste, which includes water generated from washing floors, vehicles, or scrubbed liquid effluent. According to the CPCB, the infected sewage generated in a hospital is prone to three kinds of contamination — bacterial, nuclear and chemical wastes — which has to be disinfected at the source to avoid its mixing with general municipal waste.
While the hospitals are fretting over the MPCB’s directive, tertiary-care Sion hospital is now experimenting with a new technique to treat the effluent. According to the hospital’s dean, Dr Avinash Supe, the hospital was inspired by the Pramukh Swami Medical College in Gujarat’s Karamsad city, which treats it effluent in the hospital premises itself in minimum space.
“Electric current can be used on the effluent discharge. The Pramukh Swami college gave us a demonstration of the process, and the plant uses very little space,” Supe said.
In the treatment process, the electric current neutralises presence of any nuclear waste and gives the water a “clinically acceptable” look. The hospital’s microbiology department is now preparing a report on the treatment plant to check whether any residual fungal growth is present after the treatment is complete.
“So far, the treated water does not smell, which removes one of our biggest worries. If the microbiology report shows that the water is fit for use in gardens or anywhere else after treatment, we will present the idea to the civic body for implementation in other hospitals,” Supe added.
According to Nagda, if the model is deemed feasible, it will be implemented in all civic-run hospitals that have 100 or