The workshop is a step forward in looking at environmental contributors to antimicrobial resistance, such as effluents and waste from pharmaceutical manufacturing plants and hospitals
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) in partnership with Centrient Pharmaceuticals, manufacturer of beta-lactam antibiotics, organised a sensitisation workshop on the environmental aspects of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The workshop was a step forward in looking at environmental contributors to antimicrobial resistance, such as effluents and waste from pharmaceutical manufacturing plants and hospitals.
Underlining the critical nature of the fight against AMR, Rakesh Kumar Verma, Principal Secretary, Department of Science, Technology & Environment, Punjab, who was the Chief Guest, set the context for the workshop. Verma highlighted, “AMR is a serious public health threat, and if immediate action is not taken to combat it, by 2050, the global death toll attributable to AMR could be as high as 10 million per year. As endorsed by the National Action Plan for Containment of AMR, a holistic one-health approach is needed to tackle this challenge of AMR, especially since a number of factors, including environmental and industrial ones, contribute to its rapid spread. At this juncture, unmitigated spread of AMR could lead to humankind losing one of its most fundamental pillars of healthcare – antibiotics – and all stakeholders, including policymakers must work in convergence to save antibiotics for the future generations.”
The workshop was attended by academicians from the pharmaceutical and environment sector, doctors and representatives of pharma manufacturing companies from Punjab.
Professor Satwinder Singh Marwaha, Chairman, PPCB, stated, “Punjab has already been actively working on pollution abatement from various industries with the objective of ensuring environmental sustainability. In the case of pharma pollution, the odds are even higher since untreated antibiotic residue affects both the environment and public health. We understand that environmental regulations for the pharma industry are soon to be revised to include antibiotic residue limits, and it is imperative that the industry be prepared well in advance in order to ensure successful adoption and implementation of these regulations. This workshop is the first step in creating awareness amongst pharma industry players, environmental research and civil society groups about the need for sustainable manufacturing of antibiotics, adequate treatment of antibiotic-laden effluents, and monitoring and measurement of residue levels in wastewater.”
Notable among the speakers at the event were Manjit Singh Saluja, WHO Representative in India (Environment), Dr Jyoti Joshi, Head-South Asia and GARP, Asia Coordinator, Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP), and Dr Rajeshwari Sinha, Deputy Programme Manager, Food Safety & Toxins, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
A representative from Punjabi University shared insights into the local scenario in Punjab, and the threat reckless antibiotic pollution poses to the environment and public health. Tata Power also gave a brief overview about Green Energy Technology.