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Bio-waste dumped near Rohingya refugee camp, children affected

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New Delhi: Children of Rohingya Muslims, one of the world’s most persecuted communities who have been living on the outskirts of Delhi for some three years, are falling prey to diseases, including lung infections and severe skin allergies, due to bio-medical waste being dumped by two prominent hospitals in front of their camp, enquiries by IANS have revealed. Typically, no one wants to take the responsibility for this.

Dwellers at the Madanpur Khadar camp in south Delhi claimed that discarded bandages, syringes and other bio-waste is dumped by Safdarjung Hospital and Indraprastha Apollo hospital near their camp. However, the two hospitals have stated that they cannot be held responsible as it was not their responsibility, but that of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), to monitor where the hospital waste is dumped.

Karan Thakur, a spokesperson for Indraprastha Apollo, told IANS: “We follow the law and get the bio-medical waste dumped through the vendors. But I cannot say where is it being dumped. In case it is not being dumped properly, then it is the mistake of the DPCC and not ours.”

Safdarjung Hospital medical superintendent Rajpal told IANS that the hospital did not have any role in the dumping of bio-medical waste generated as the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) and the DPCC looked after the entire operation.

A senior DPCC official, who did not wish to be named, told IANS: “We hire agencies for collecting the bio-medical waste from hospitals and dumping it properly, but Safdarjung and a few other hospitals have hired their own agencies to take care of the bio-medical waste generated from there. In such situations, the medical superintendent and the heads of such hospitals are responsible and not the DPCC.”

There were high chances of norms being violated as such cases have been reported in the past as well, but things were brought under control after official action, he added.

Sunil Bhatnagar, additional secretary, Directorate of Health Services (DHS), agreed.

“Although violation by big hospitals like Safdarjung and even AIIMS is not unusual, mostly the norms are violated by small hospitals and nursing homes that do not even have proper tie-ups with the vendors for dumping the waste,” Bhatnagar told IANS.

He said that the number of such hospitals was so large that it was difficult for DPCC or the DHS to monitor the process on their own.

The toxic waste being dumped has claimed the life of three infants till now, the Madanpur Khadar dwellers say.

Often the children end up playing with discarded saline tubes, blood packs and used syringes trying to make up for the absence of toys.

“For the past four months vans carrying the bio-medical waste from hospitals have started dumping it right in front of our shacks. Although adults understand what it is, it’s very difficult to make the children understand, who go and play with it. This is the cause behind the occurrence of several forms of diseases in them,” Mohammad Salim, the 28-year-old head of the refugee camp, told IANS.

Stating that three infants had died after contracting a skin disease caused by the bio-medical waste, Salim added that the community tried to build a boundary wall demarcating their shacks from the dumping site but it was broken by the people coming to dump the waste who also issued strict warnings against doing so.

When this IANS correspondent visited the site, most of children in the camp were found with several forms of skin infections, chemical burns and even blisters on their faces and bodies. Their parents claimed the skin diseases were caused by contact with bio-medical waste.

Rasna Begum, the mother of a two-year-old who died in May, said that since the waste was not properly disposed of in bags, syringes, blood soaked plasters, bandages with human tissue were scattered in the entire area.

“I did not understand what my little son died of. Before I could stop him from playing with the syringes, used hand gloves and all, he had already contracted a serious skin infection. Before he died his entire body became red and full of blisters,” Rasna Begum told IANS.

Recently nine hospitals, including the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital, were issued notice by the National Green Tribunal for violation of rules laid down for safe disposal of highly infectious bio medical waste.

This correspondent spotted some vans that had dumped bio-medical waste in the area. Asked about the hospitals the waste was from, the drivers said it was from Safdarjung Hospital and Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.

Informed about the incident by IANS, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Sripad Yesso Naik said: “I do not exactly know if hospitals are committing such a blunder. It’s simply intolerable. I will immediately send officials from the health ministry to check if this is happening. Strict action will be taken against the medical superintendents and senior officials for such norm violation.”

The 315 Rohingya Muslims – who have been staying in dilapidated huts made out of thatch, tarpaulin and plastic sheets – are among an estimated 10 million stateless people worldwide.

India, despite hosting some 30,000 registered refugees, has no legal recognition of asylum seekers, making it difficult for them to use essential services.

Although the minorities have lived for generations in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, they had to flee the country after hostilities broke out between the Buddhists and the Rohingyas in 2012 leading to the death of more than 100 people. Over 100,000 Rohingyas have since then fled to countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh.

(IANS)

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10 Best Places To Visit In Delhi

The capital of India, Delhi is one massive city where you can find people from all walks of life.

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Delhi has many places which you must visit to get yourself acquainted with history and culture of India as a whole. Wikimedia Commons
Delhi has many places which you must visit to get yourself acquainted with history and culture of India as a whole. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • Delhi is the capital of India and attracts tourists from all walks of life
  • Delhi has many tourist destinations which attract all kinds of people
  • Delhi has something for everyone and has many places which one can visit

The capital of India, Delhi is one massive city where you can find people from all walks of life. Delhi is full of culture and history, it has something for everyone who comes to visit or live here. From modern nightclubs to old, historical monuments, there is nothing you won’t find in Delhi.

Delhi is one of the major tourist attractions of India. Wikimedia Commons
Delhi is one of the major tourist attractions of India. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi has various places which one can visit. You can be a religious person, history buff, science nerd or an art enthusiast or anything else, Delhi will definitely have something to offer you. Here is the list of 10 best places to visit in Delhi to quench your thirst for history, culture and entertainment.

India Gate

India Gate is one place which you definitely shouldn’t miss while you’re in Delhi. India Gate is one of the best places to visit in Delhi because of its beautiful parks and the ever-burning ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti.’ The area around India Gate is one of the cleanest and you should definitely not miss it during the evening when the place is full of food, people and jest.

India Gate is one the best places to visit in Delhi. Pixabay
India Gate is one the best places to visit in Delhi. Pixabay

Qutub Minar

One of the world’s tallest building, Qutub Minar has beautiful architecture and lots of history attached to it. You can click photographers, sit in the lush green lawns and enjoy amazing food while you’re in its compound. You can also visit Chhatarpur Temple near it, which is yet another place to visit in Delhi.

Qutub Minar is surrounded by lush green garden on all sides. Wikimedia Commons
Qutub Minar is surrounded by the lush green garden on all sides. Wikimedia Commons

Swaminarayan ‘Akshardham Temple’

Akshardham Temple is a relatively new tourist attraction. It is one of best places to visit in Delhi because of its beautiful architecture and peaceful environment. The temple will not disappoint you even if you’re not a religious person. The museum inside is definitely worth a visit as it takes you through various ages of India’s development.

Hindu Temples
Akshardham Temple is one the must-visit places in Delhi (www.akshardham.com)

Red Fort

Red Fort is another one of the tourist’s favourite destination to visit in Delhi. It is of great significance historically and politically. It is one of the top names when it comes to Delhi’s points of interest. In the day you can visit museums and soak the history while at night, you can enjoy the fabulous light and sound show.

Red Fort in Delhi is a place for both the history and political science buffs. Pixabay
Red Fort in Delhi is a place for both the history and political science buffs. Pixabay

The Bahai or Lotus Temple

Lotus Temple is definitely one of best places to visit in Delhi. It is a heaven for all the photographers out there. It is also famous for its quiet and tranquil environment. It is one of the best places to visit quietly and meditate in Delhi.

Night view of Lotus Temple. Wikimedia Commons
Night view of Lotus Temple. Wikimedia Commons

Jama Masjid

If you’re talking Delhi, you just can’t forget to mention Jama Masjid. Jama Masjid is huge and is famous for its beautiful architecture. You can sit in its compound for as long as you like and can even enjoy a picnic there with your friends or family. You can also climb up the tall Minar which will give you a full view of Old Delhi. Near it, you can visit Kebab shops and restaurants which will serve you with some of the best Mughlai food ever.

The Jama Masjid is not only a place to worship but also a place to enjoy small picnics to enjoy with friends and family. VOA
The Jama Masjid is not only a place to worship but also a place to enjoy small picnics to enjoy with friends and family. VOA

Chandani Chowk

Chandani Chowk is the economic hub of Delhi. From clothing to food, there is nothing you won’t find here. Visit the ‘Paranthe Wali Gali’ to experience some of the best Delhi food. You can also visit the famous ‘Old and Famous Jalebi Wala’ for a Jalebi and Rabri combination like never before. The place may seem crowded but it is definitely worth a visit if you really want to experience the essence of Delhi.

Chandni Chowk is famous for the amazing food which one can get there. Wikimedia Commons
Chandni Chowk is famous for the amazing food which one can get there. Wikimedia Commons

Purana Quila 

When we are talking about the best places to visit in Delhi, we just cannot forget the Old Fort. It is one of the most ancient and largest forts in India. It spans around in an area of 2 km. You can enjoy sightseeing and learn about the place. Apart from that, you can also enjoy boating in the lake inside the Old Fort.

Also Read: 10 llittle-knownfacts about Delhi Metro which makes it distinct

Bangla Sahib Gurudwara

Located near the Connaught Place, Bangla Sahib is one of the most famous tourist places in Delhi. It is beautifully structured and the lake in the middle is where you can sit comfortably and enjoy the view of various fishes inside it. Near the Gurudwara, you can also visit the famous Hanuman Mandir on one side and the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church on the other.

Bangla Sahib is one of the most famous place of worship of Sikhs in Delhi. Wikimedia Commons
Bangla Sahib is one of the most famous places of worship of Sikhs in Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

National Rail Museum

There are a plethora of museums which you can visit in Delhi, but out of all those National Rail Museum stands out because of a variety of rail models – be it static or working, or small or big. You can also enjoy a toy train while you are visiting the museum!