Bio-Medical Waste : Treatment and Disposal

In a notification dated July 20, 1998, the Competent Authority in the Ministry of Environment & Forests has issued the following rules for the management and handling of bio-medical waste.

S.O.630 (E): Whereas a notification in exercise of the powers conferred by Sections 6, 8 and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986) was published in The Gazette of India vide S.O. 746 (E) dated October 16, 1997 inviting objections from the public within 60 days from the date of the publication of the said notification on the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998 and whereas all objections received were duly considered;

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Sections 6, 8 and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Central Government hereby notifies the rules for the management and handling of bio-medical waste.

1. Short Title and Commencement

2. Application

These rules apply to all persons who generate, collect, receive, store, transport, treat, dispose, or handle bio- medical waste in any form.

3. Definition

In these rules unless the context otherwise requires :-

4. Duty of Occupier

It shall be the duty of every occupier of an institution generating bio-medical waste which includes a hospital, nursing home, clinic, dispensary, veterinary institution, animal house, pathological laboratory, blood bank (by whatever name called) to take all steps to ensure that such waste is handled without any adverse effect on human health and the environment.

5. Treatment and Disposal

6. Segregation, Packing, Transportation and Storage

Provided that if for any reason it becomes necessary to store the waste beyond such period, the authorised person must take permission of the prescribed authority and take measures to ensure that the waste does not adversely affect human health and the environment.

7. Prescribed Authority

Provided that no authorisation shall be cancelled or suspended without giving a reasonable opportunity to the occupier/operator of being heard.

8. Authorisation

9. Advisory Committee

The Government of every State/Union Territory shall constitute an advisory committee. The committee will include experts in the field of medical and health, animal husbandry and veterinary sciences, environmental management, municipal administration, and any other related department or organisation including non- governmental organisations. The State Pollution Control Board/Pollution Control Committee shall be represented. As and when required, the committee shall advise the Government of the State/Union Territory and the prescribed authority about matters related to the implementation of these rules.

10. Annual Report

Every occupier/operator shall submit an annual report to the prescribed authority in Form II by January 31 every year, to include information about the categories and quantities of bio-medical wastes handled during the preceding year. The prescribed authority shall send this information in a compiled form to the Central Pollution Control Board by March 31 every year.

11. Maintenance of Records

12. Accident Reporting

When any accident occurs at any institution or facility or any other site where bio-medical waste is handled or during transportation of such waste, the authorised person shall report the accident in Form III to the prescribed authority forthwith.

13. Appeal

Any person aggrieved by an order made by the prescribed authority under these rules may, within 30 days from the date on which the order is communicated to him, prefer an appeal to such authority as the Government of State/Union Territory may think fit to constitute:

Provided that the authority may entertain the appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient causes from filing the appeal in time.

(See Schedule I & II on the next page)


(See Rule 5)

Categories of Bio-Medical Waste
Option          Waste Category                                                          Treatment & Disposal
Category No. 1  Human Anatomical Waste                                                  incineration@/deep burial*
                (human tissues, organs, body parts)          

Category No. 2  Animal Waste                                                            incineration@/deep burial*
                (animal tissues, organs, body parts, carcasses, bleeding parts, 
                fluid, blood and experimental animals used in research, waste         
                generated by veterinary hospitals, colleges, discharge from 
                hospitals, animal houses)          

Category No.3   Microbiology & Biotechnology Waste                                      local autoclaving/micro-waving/
                (wastes from laboratory cultures, stocks or specimens of micro-         incineration@
                organisms live or attenuated vaccines, human and animal cell 
                culture used in research and infectious agents from research and 
                industrial laboratories, wastes from production of biologicals, 
                toxins, dishes and devices used for transfer of cultures)        

Category No.4   Waste Sharps                                                            disinfection (chemical
                (needles, syringes, scalpels, blades, glass, etc. that may cause        treatment@@/auto claving/
                puncture and cuts.  This includes both used and unused sharps)          micro-waving and mutilation

Category No.5   Discarded Medicines and Cytotoxic drugs                                 incineration@/destruction and
                (wastes comprising of outdated, contaminated and discarded              drugs disposal in secured
                medicines)                                                              landfills 

Category No. 6  Solid Waste                                                             incineration@ autoclaving/
                (Items contaminated with blood, and body fluids including cotton,       microwaving    
                dressings, soiled plaster casts, lines, beddings, other material 
                contaminated with blood) 

Category No.7   Solid Waste                                                             disinfection by chemical
                (wastes generated from disposable items other than the waste            treatment@@ autoclaving/
                sharps such as tubings, catheters, intravenous sets etc.)               microwaving and mutilation/

Category No.8   Liquid Waste                                                     disinfection by chemical
                (waste generated from laboratory and washing, cleaning, house-          treatment@@ and discharge
                keeping and disinfecting activities)                                    into drains    

Category No.9   Incineration Ash                                                        disposal in municipal landfill
                (ash from incineration of any bio-medical waste)  

Category No.10  Chemical Waste                                                          chemical treatment @@ and
                (chemicals used in production of biologicals, chemicals used            discharge into drains for liquids 
                in disinfection, as insecticides, etc.)                                 and secured landfill for solids 
@@   Chemicals treatment using at least 1% hypochlorite solution or any other equivalent chemical reagent. 
     It must be ensured that chemical treatment ensures disinfection.

##   Multilation/shredding must be such so as to prevent unauthorised reuse.

@    There will be no chemical pretreatment before incineration.  Chlorinated plastics shall not be

*    Deep burial shall be an option available only in towns with population less than five lakhs and in rural


(See Rule 6)
Colour Coding and Type of Container for Disposal of Bio-Medical Wastes
Colour Coding           Type of Container               Waste Category                  Treatment options as per
                                                                                        Schedule I
Yellow                  Plastic bag                     Cat. 1, Cat. 2 and              Incineration/deep burial
                                                        Cat. 3, Cat. 6 

Red                     Disinfected                     Cat. 3, Cat. 6, Cat. 7          Autoclaving/Microwaving/
                        container/plastic bag                                           Chemical Treatment  

Blue/White              Plastic bag/puncture            Cat. 4, Cat.7                   Autoclaving/Microwaving/Chemical
 translucent            proof container                                                 Treatment and destruction/shedding 

Black                   Plastic bag                     Cat. 5 and Cat. 9 and           Disposal in secured landfill
                                                        Cat. 10 (solid)          
Notes :

1.   Colour coding of waste categories with multiple treatment options as defined in Schedule I, shall be
     selected depending on treatment option chosed, which shall be as specified in Schedule I.

2.   Waste collection bags for waste types needing incineration shall not be made of chlorinated plastics.

3.   Categories 8 and 10 (liquid) do not require containers/bags.

4.   Category 3 if disinfected locally need not be put in containers/bags.

(For further information, refer to The Gazette of India: Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, Sub-section (ii), No.460, published in New Delhi on Monday, July 27, 1998.)