Looks like the Indian sub-continent is not only battling the increased mortality rate due to the second wave of dreaded coronavirus, but also the heaps of biomedical waste being generated. According to Biotic, COVID-related waste generation in the capital city was nearly 7.2 tons per day in July 2020 which increased to 12.5 to 13 tons per day by April 2021. That said, biomedical waste management has thus become a major cause of concern for the authorities.
In a bid to address this concern, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has reportedly framed guidelines for treatment, handling, and disposal of waste generated during the diagnosis, quarantine, and treatment of Covid-19 patients.
This step would potentially allow them to facilitate common disposal facilities and waste generators for safe transport, collection, and disposal of Covid waste.
As per the CPCB reports, there are about 198 Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment and Disposal Facilities (CBWTF) involved in the disposal and treatment of biomedical waste. Moreover, since February this year, there has been a gradual increase in the biomedical waste generation, up from 53 tons everyday to 203 tons per day.
Speaking on the burgeoning statistics, President of Council for Healthcare and Pharma, Gurpreet Sandhu cited that since the pandemic, CBWTF has been facing an unparalleled demand from the residential societies alone for processing and collection of the COVID-19 biomedical waste.
Gurpreet quoted that the bigger challenge has been the poor compliance with Central guidelines, like the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and the Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016. This apparently augments the chances of adverse health impact for sanitation and waste workers due to involuntary leakages of harmful waste.
Furthermore, Priti Banthia Mahesh, Chief Program Coordinator at Toxics Link, has raised cautions against the speculated third waste of coronavirus pandemic which may make it difficult to manage the future waste with ongoing system.