Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Tragedy Waiting to Happen

Musavirr highlights an issue that is routinely ignored for now but is certainly going to be a major issue of concern some day

(Mr. Musavirr Wani, 28, was born in Srinagar and attened the Burn Hall School. He graduated from the Meerut University and joined the Kashmir Times as a reporter. Loves driving his car and surfing internet to seek out workshops and fellowships so that he can travel and present the true picture of Kashmir.)

Mis-management of bio-medical wastes in hospitals

Mismanagement of biomedical wastes in and around the hospitals in Kashmir valley continues to add to the pollution levels thereby creating problems for both the patients in the hospitals and people at large.

Officials at the helm of administration in these hospitals say that lack of enough funds and non-availability of related infrastructure is a major cause of the mess vis-…-vis the waste management in the hospitals here.

The lack of coordination between various government departments and the concerned wings within the health-care institutions is said to be a cause for non- implementation of rules regarding bio-medical waste management.

"The management of bio-medical waste management is a least priority in Srinagar hospitals. Personnel from areas such as housekeeping, laundry, kitchen and others with the institution should be involved in the waste management," said a hospital employee who pleaded anonymity.

Sources in most of the hospitals said that facilities such as incinirators and STPs available with the government hospitals, more than often fail to serve their purpose due to lack of fuel and proper management.

Attendants of patients also share the blame in the sense that more than the required number of attendants often accompany every patient which far-exceeds the capacity limits consequently the production of waste gets enhanced.

"Doctors can play a vital role by educating para-medical staff and others about the importance of handling bio-medical and other wastes in a scientific manner," say the experts.

The Pollution Control Board (PCB) has already announced a list of recommendations for the improvement of waste management system like the one recommending segregation of bio-medical waste from other wastes. As per the PCB recommendations, the segregation should be done in the containers at the point of generation prior to its storage, treatment and disposal. The containers shall be labeled.

PCB further recommends that destruction of needles and syringes at source should not be kept stored beyond a period of 48 hours. The municipal body of the area shall pick up and transport segregated non-infectious waste generated in hospital and from the nursing homes, the PCB further says. It also recommends that separate vehicles with conspicuous-labeling need to be engaged for waste transportation. And before final disposal, infectious waste must be subjected to treatment with either heat or chemicals.

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