ACCORDING to a news story in this paper, the authorities have seized clinical waste, including used syringes, worth millions after a raid at two factories in Lahore on Wednesday. The syringes were being packed for marketing when the City District Government's squad caught the law offenders unawares. The factories were sealed and a case registered against those involved in the business. While one should praise the officers for their efficiency, it is but frightening to know that the case of these two factories involved in the evil practice was just the tip of the iceberg. The illegal trade is posing a big health hazard to the public at large. In most of the cases, these syringes and other surgical equipment are infected with germs of HIV, Hepatitis and other fatal diseases. So the consequences are obvious when they are used again. There is a whole mafia involved in this activity with hospitals and the Health Ministry reportedly having their share in the present situation. Hospitals produce tonnes of waste on a daily basis and it is believed that some black sheep in the health centres, through the sanitation staff, sell this stuff to scoundrels who recycle those tools of death. While the rest of the waste is dumped at public places where it becomes easy prey for the scavengers. What is really complicating this is the lack of proper incinerator facilities at public and private hospitals. It is a pity that up till 2000 there was no incinerator in any of the hospitals in Lahore. Later, only a few centres were equipped with them, but they are often out of order. Therefore the chances of the used syringes and other surgical tools ending up in the hands of the clinical waste mafia, and then going back to the market, are very high. The Health Ministry should take serious action to address the issue at the earliest lest the number of patients should increase indefinitely.