Friday, November 9, 2018

Public hearing on proposed biomedical waste incinerator at Ramchak Bairiya, Sampatchak Patna district to dwell on public health concerns

Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) is organizing a public hearing on proposed biomedical waste incinerator on November 10, 2018 at Nitish Laloo Samudayik Bhawan, Ramchak Bairiya, Sampatchak, Patna district. This is a mandatory requirement under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and rules made under it. The proposal entails setting up of a Common Bio Medical Waste Treatment Facility” at Village- Ramchak Bairiya, Tehsil and District –Patna, Bihar by Allahabad based M/s Sangam Mediserve Pvt. Ltd.

This Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment Facility (CBWTF) is proposed to be setup by Sangam Mediserve Pvt. Ltd. with Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS)-Raja Bazaar Sekhpura, Patna on Public Private Partnership (PPP) Mode where bio-medical waste, treated from healthcare units, from currently approx. 850 Hospital that’s include all Govt. and private health care facilities operational in Patna division i.e. Ara, Buxar, Rohtash, Kaimur, Bihar Sharif and Patna districts of state of Bihar.

The study of the Draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report and the Pre-Feasibility report of the proposed project reveals that the project proponents are ignorant about the verdict of Delhi High Court in a case concerning biomedical waste incinerator in Sukhdev Vihar, Okhla, New Delhi. The Court observed that “Residents living within 10 km of an incinerator, refinery, and waste disposal site” showed “Significant increase in laryngeal cancer in men living with closer proximity to the incinerator and other pollution sources”. It observed that the “Residents living around an incinerator and other pollution sources” showed “Significant increase in lung cancer related specifically to the incinerator”. The “People living within 7.5 km of 72 incinerators” displayed “Risks of all cancers and specifically of stomach, colorectal, liver and lung cancer increased with closer proximity to incinerators”. (Source:

The Draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report and of the 27 page long Pre-Feasibility report has been prepared by Fulgro Environmental & Engineering Services India Pvt. Ltd, Sangam company’s environmental consultant. The Pre-Feasibility report states that “The proposed facility is located on an area of 1.5 Acre which is allotted by Nagar Nigam, Patna.” Prior to this it states that “Govt. of Bihar allocated land for establishment of Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment Facility (CBWTF) to IGIMS- Patna.” It states that as per legal requirement, “No untreated bio-medical waste shall be kept stored beyond a period of 48 hours”. The proposed facility is supposed to treat approx 30000 Beds for the district Ara, Buxar, Rohtash, Kaimur, Bihar Sharif and Patna and other nearby district. The total cost of the project is Rs 4.93 crores.

The Draft EIA report states that Ganga river is 5.7 km in north direction, Barmullah Nala is 6 km in South East direction, Punpun river is 6.2 km in South East direction, Gandak river is 9.7 km in North of North East of the proposed biomedical waste facility. This reveals that aerial distance (as the crow fly distance) will be quite nearer to the facility (if the measurement of distance in a straight line). It is noteworthy that the report does not disclose what is situated in the nearest vicinity of the proposed site. It misleadingly only refers to landmarks situated after 5 km. it does not provide information about the kind of human habitation or ecologically sensitive landscape within the 5 km radius.       

In the 254 page long Draft EIA report, it is admitted that incineration technology will be used to burn the waste to ashes through a combustion process. It claims that “The gases would be completely burnt and safe gases then shall be let out of the incinerator unit” while admitting that persistent organic pollutants like Dioxins will be admitted at page no. 28. It states that its monitoring will be done by a third party but does not disclose the name of the third party. It is significant because Bihar does not have a lab which can test Dioxins. Its pre-feasibility report states that the both the primary and secondary burners proposed are imported Italian burners. It makes a claim that “The system is environmentally safe without any hazard” and “The entire system shall be a zero liquid discharge system in terms of wastewater discharge from the process as the entire wastewater is re-circulated and most of the water used is in terms of make-up water. This water also will meet the wastewater discharge standards for on-land disposal. Domestic wastewater will be disposed through septic tank fallowed by soak pit.” It is estimated that about 5 MT of the waste would be treated per day.

A similar biomedical waste incinerator plant which was proposed in the flood plains of Son river by M/s Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd was successfully opposed in Koilwar, Bhojpur. At the public hearing held on 16 October, 2014 at Ambika Sharan Singh High School, Jamalpur, Post- Naya Mohammadpur, District- Bhojpur, the villagers said that they will pay any price to stop waste from hundreds of factories and thousands of hospitals from coming to Koilwar due to imminent public health crisis the present and future generations of residents of villages on the Babura-Koilwar road in Bhojpur, Bihar.  The public hearing had raised the question of adverse health effect of the proposed plant in the 10 km radius of its location.

The villagers had submitted the judgment of the Delhi High Court to the presiding officer of the public hearing. The judgment refers to ‘The summary of “Epidemiological Studies on Adverse Health Effects Associated with Incineration” would show that medical waste incinerators are a leading source of dioxins and mercury in the environment and there is link between incinerator emissions and adverse health impacts on incinerator workers and residents living around the incinerators.’ (Source:

The Court’s judgment reads: “Both older and more modern incinerators can contribute to the contamination of local soil and vegetation with dioxins and heavy metals. In several European countries, cows’ milk from farms located in the vicinity of incinerators has been found to contain elevated levels of dioxin, in some cases above regulatory limits. Increased levels of dioxins have been found in the tissues of residents near to incinerators in the UK, Spain and Japan. At an incinerator in Finland, mercury was increased in hair of residents living in the vicinity. Children living near a modern incinerator in Spain were found to have elevated levels of urinary thioethers, a biomarker of toxic exposure. “ It notes that “After 2 years of operation of incinerator, dioxins levels were found increased by about 25% in both groups living between 0.5 to 1.5 and 3.5 to 4.0 km away (201 people) of people. In the repeat analysis, the increase was in the range of 10-15%”.

The judgment records that “Mothers living close to incinerators and crematoria from 1956 to 1993” showed “increased risk of lethal congenital abnormalities, in particular, spinal bifida and heart defects, near incinerators: increased risk of stillbirths and anacephalus near crematoria”.
Ramky's EIA report is quite misleading. It ignores the nearest schools, hospitals, CRPF camp and the Koilwar railway station. It refers to Ara railway station as the nearest railway station. BSPCB does not have the capacity to test and monitor dioxins emissions. It came to light that BSPCB is not enforcing environmental laws in the 99-125 factories from which hazardous industrial waste is generated which requires disposal and treatment at the palce of their generation.    

The proposed plant at Ramchak, Sampatchak, Patna-Gaya Road, district Patna is irresponsible, insensitive, anti-people, ant-environment and anti-health initiative. ToxicsWatch has undertaken the study of the Draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report and of the Pre-Feasibility report of the proposed project. The treatment facility existing at Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), Patna is proposed to be dismantled and shifted to Ramchak, Sampatchak, Patna-Gaya Road, district Patna by the Allahabad based company. The nearest railway station is Rajendra Nagar Terminal (approx. 4.35 Km towards North- West direction from the proposed site), Patna Sahib (approx. 5.54 Km towards North-East direction from the proposed site), Patna Junction (approx. 5.78 Km towards WNW direction from the proposed site), Parsa R.S. (approx. 6.4 Km towards WSW direction from the proposed site) and nearest Airport: Jai Prakash Narayan Airport, Patna (approx 9.3 km towards NW direction from the proposed site).

The nearest State Highway (SH), SH-1 is ( approx. 5.8 Km towards South direction from the proposed site), SH-78 (approx. 12.6 Km towards South direction from the proposed site) and SH-93 (approx. 13.0 Km towards NE direction from the proposed site) and National Highway (NH)-98 is (approx. 2.1 Km towards ESE direction from the proposed site), NH-83 (approx. 5.5 Km towards West direction from the proposed site) and NH-30 (approx. 7.0 Km towards East direction from the proposed site). The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is located 8.5 km towards WNW direction from the project site.

For Details: Dr Gopal Krishna, LLB, PhD, ToxicsWatch, E-mail:, Web:

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