Biomedical waste comprises the human and animal anatomical waste, treatment equipment like needles used, and other articles used medical organisations in treatment and research. Total biomedical waste generates in India is 484 TPD from 1,68,869 healthcare facilities (HCF), out of which 447 TPD is treated.

Proper and Scientific disposal of Biomedical waste is necessary to minimise the adverse effect on health workers and the environment. The waste generated is estimated to be 1-2 kg per bed per day in a hospital and 600 gm per day per bed in a clinic. Improper disposal of waste increases the risk of infection and develop resistant microorganisms.

The Ministry of Environment and, Forest and Climate Change, notified new Biomedical Waste Management rules, 2016 on March 28th publish a new set of rules, 'Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016'.

What is Biomedical Waste?

According to section 3(f) of Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016 "bio-medical waste" means any waste, which is generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunisation of human beings or animals or research activities pertaining thereto or in the production or testing of biological or in health camps, including the categories mentioned in Schedule I appended to these rules.

Biomedical waste can be divided into four categories:

1. Yellow: In this category, eight types of waste are categorised- Human anatomical waste, animal anatomical waste, soiled waste, expired or discarded waste, chemical waste, chemical liquid waste(separate collection system leading to effluent treatment system), discarded linen, mattresses, beddings contaminated with blood or body fluid, and microbiology, biotechnology, and other clinical laboratory waste.

2. Red: It includes contaminated waste (recyclable) generated from disposable items such as tubing, bottles, intravenous tubes and sets, catheters, urine bags, syringes (without needles and fixed needle syringes) and vacutainers with their needles cut) and gloves.

3. White(Translucent): It includes waste sharps including metals (includes used, contaminated and discarded metal sharps)

4. Blue: It includes broken or contaminated or discarded glass and metallic body implants.


The main objective of the new rules is based on three R, namely, reduce, recycle, and reuse. The aim is to delimit the waste, recover or reuse it as much as possible, and avoid disposing of it.

It is explicitly mentioned in these rules that these guidelines do not apply on radioactive wastes, hazardous chemicals, solid wastes covered, the lead-acid batteries, hazardous wastes covered, hazardous microorganisms, genetically engineered microorganisms and cells covered under other rules. The primary purpose of the rules is raining to workers, health checkups, immunisation, and occupation safety of the workers.

Salient Features:

Some of the salient features of the rules are as follows:

1. Now, the waste generated from vaccination camps, blood donation camps, and surgical camps are included.

2. Duties of both occupier, i.e. the person having administrative control and operator, i.e. the person who controls the medical facilities of collection, reception, transportation, treatment, and disposal of biomedical wastes, are unambiguously specified under these rules.

3. Maintenance of biomedical waste registers daily and monthly. The operator or the occupier has to update the register on the website and also the maintenance of all the records for operation of hydroclaving/incineration/autoclaving for five years.

4. The waste has been classified into four categories, and instead of 10 and the method, i.e. segregation, packaging, transportation, and storage of biomedical wastes has been improved.

5. There should be a common biomedical waste treatment facility and on-site treatment or disposal facility within 75 kilometres. State government should provide land for the establishment of a common biomedical waste treatment facility and disposal facility.

6. There should be pretreatment of the laboratory, microbiological waste, and blood bags on-site before disposal either at Common biomedical waste treatment facility or on-site.

7. The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate change will monitor the implementation of rules yearly.