SEPA (Pakistan) decide on flexible approach

“After failing to evolve consensus on the most suitable technology for disposal of hospital waste, the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) has decided to allow health facilities to choose between incineration and any non-burn technology for waste management.

The Sepa is going to ask all the 612 public and private hospitals through public notices in the print media to use any environment-friendly technology for hospital waste disposal or else action would be initiated against them under the Hospital Waste Management Rules 2005.

Regulation in waste management is clearly important but should avoid the imposition of rules that are not fully evidence-based. Stakeholder opinion must be sought and considered fairly and with full transparency. Where  evidence is lacking and opinion is split, a more pragmatic approach is entirely appropriate but interim decisions must be re-examined as soon as satiscatory evidence becomes available. Nothing should be written in stone. 

This news from Pakistan is a great example of sound regulation – seeking consensus stakeholder opinion, managing  differences in that opinion, and deciding on a balanced approach for clinical waste management that is permitted to embrace any suitable technology.

Meddling by regulators in the commercial marketplace to satisfy personal ideologies is totally inappropriate. Having decided to permit choice, there is no reason to omit close regulation concerning performance, providing that too is properly evidence-based and shaped or constrained by sound and fully transparent reasoning.

SEPA (Pk) have done the job properly. Congratulations to them.

see Quo Vadis? Science and Regulation as Uneasy Bedfellows

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