India Generated Over 18,000 Tonnes Of COVID-19 Related Bio-medical Waste In 4 Months, Experts Call To Reduce, Reuse And Segregate

India Generated Over 18,000 Tonnes Of COVID-19 Related Bio-medical Waste In 4 Months, Experts Call To Reduce, Reuse And Segregate

The COVID-19 related bio-medical waste generation in India has increased from 3,025.41 tonnes in June to 5,490 tonnes in September
India Generated Over 18,000 Tonnes Of COVID-19 Related Bio-medical Waste In 4 Months, Experts Call To Reduce, Reuse And SegregateOn an average, India generated about 183 tonnes of COVID-19 related bio-medical waste per day in September
Highlights
  • In September, India generated 5490 tonnes of COVID-19 bio-medical waste
  • Gujarat leads the tally with 622.89 tonnes of COVID-19 bio-medical waste
  • Experts believe segregation can help reduce the quantity of waste generated

New Delhi: The COVID-19 pandemic has burdened India’s already stressed waste management system. According to the data shared by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India generated over 18,000 tonnes of COVID-19 related bio-medical waste between June and September. This includes personal protective equipment (PPE), gloves, face masks, head cover, plastic coverall, hazmet suit, syringes among other gears and medical equipment used by both healthcare providers and patients. The amount of COVID-19 related bio-medical waste has been on the rise. In June, India generated 3,025.41 tonnes of COVID-19 related bio-medical waste; in July the number rose to 4,253.46 tonnes and further spiked to 5,238.45 tonnes in August and 5,490 tonnes in September.

India Generated Over 18,000 Tonnes Of COVID-19 Related Bio-medical Waste In 4 Months, Experts Call To Reduce, Reuse And Segregate
COVID-19 related bio-medical waste generation in India from June to September

 

Also Read: Coronavirus Pandemic Exposes Broken System Of Bio-medical Waste Management; Experts Discuss The Issue And Solutions

On an average, India generated about 183 tonnes of COVID-19 related bio-medical waste per day in September. Back in June, the figure stood at 101 tonnes per day. This quantity is in addition to the regular bio-medical waste generation of about 609 MT per day (as of June, 2020). According to Sourabh Manuja, Fellow, Centre for Waste Management, Environment & Waste Management Division at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the rise in waste generation is directly related to the number of cases.

Dr Lata Ghanshamnani, Ophthalmologist and co-founder of NGO RNisarg Foundation, is of the opinion that now routine non-COVID healthcare work has increased which has led to an increase in bio-medical waste and this was expected. She added,

People are no longer waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to go and postponing their regular healthcare treatments. They are undergoing treatments as routine. Hence, bio-medical waste is being generated from non-COVID hospitals and nursing homes as well.

In September, Gujarat generated 622.89 tonnes of COVID-19 bio-medical waste, followed by Tamil Nadu (543.78 tonnes) and Maharashtra (524.82 tonnes).

Also Read: Waste Management During Coronavirus Pandemic: 27-year-old Recycles Bio-medical Waste Into Eco-friendly Bricks

CPCB data states that about 198 Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment Facilities (CBWTFs) are involved in the treatment and disposal of COVID-19 bio-medical waste across the country.

NDTV spoke to industry experts to know how India can reduce its COVID specific bio-medical waste generation. Dr Ghanshamnani suggested three crucial steps – define COVID waste; identify different types of waste generators; launch a large scale campaign for education and awareness related to PPE usage for both healthcare and non-healthcare sectors. Elaborating on the same, Dr Ghanshamnani said,

COVID waste is generated in COVID hospitals, dedicated COVID care centre, home quarantine, and other non-healthcare establishment like salons, hotels, and home. COVID-19 related waste generated at non- healthcare establishments can be potentially contaminated but is currently being discarded as dry waste as per the CPCB guidelines. Therefore, we need to identify waste generators.

Further talking about a need for large scale campaign for education and awareness related to PPE usage for both healthcare and non-healthcare sectors, Dr Ghanshamnani said,

Tailor made suggestions should be made for healthcare sector based on the hierarchy of ‘Rethink, Refuse, Reduce and Recycle’. For example, encourage appropriate use of PPE based on exposure levels of the health care worker; encourage reusable alternatives without compromising the safety; encourage PPE materials that have easily available recycling options. For non-healthcare sector, in addition to the aforementioned points, we need to educate and make people aware about the importance of hand hygiene and social distancing over the unnecessary use of PPE especially the hazmet suits.

Also Read: COVID-19: Disposed Personal Protective Equipment Could Be Turned Into Biofuel, Say Indian Scientists

Mr Manuja also emphasised on the 2Rs’ of waste management hierarchy – reduce and reuse. He added,

If waste gets properly segregated at source and managed appropriately the burdens on the environment can be reduced, following guidelines which allow many waste streams to be recycled after processing (disinfection). Appropriate training and capacity building on segregation of waste at source will certainly help reduce bio-medical waste that is to be incinerated. There is a need to spread larger awareness among waste generators and managers. For the general public, who are not quarantined, reusable masks, gloves and other PPEs can help reduce waste burden.

Mr Manuja also specified that whatever we cannot reduce and has to be incinerated should be of lightest feasible weight, to reduce burdens for bio-medical waste management facilities.

Swati Sambyal, a Delhi-based waste management expert resonated with Mr Manuja on the point of waste segregation at source. She asserted that,

The pandemic has definitely increased the quantities of waste, but one major factor that has been attributed to increased levels of bio-medical waste generation is non-segregation. Obviously, this also increases the quantum of waste generated. This is creating a problem, but awareness is an issue here.

Also Read: COVID-19 Waste: CPCB’s New Guidelines Advise Households To Cut And Store Waste Masks, Gloves For 3 Days Before Disposing Of

As per the provisions under Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016, Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and CPCB’s COVID-19 guidelines, segregation of wastes is essential for effective management of wastes. The CPCB has reported improper segregation of waste from COVID-19 isolation wards, quarantine centres and quarantine homes.

Mixing of general solid waste with biomedical waste would result in additional load on CBWTF incinerators, which are not designed for domestic solid waste, CPCB had stated in its report.

Talking about the ways to deal with non-segregation of waste, Dr Ghanshamnani said education and awareness in the community are two keys here. To this, Mr Manuja added,

People need to understand what goes in their yellow bins/bags and general waste. Recyclables which can be isolated for up to 3-5 days after quarantine is over can be stored and not rejected as bio-medical waste. This will help reduce waste burdens of bio-medical waste to be handled via municipalities.

Also Read: Bhubaneswar Civic Body Starts Collecting Bio-Medical Waste From COVID-19 Patients Under Home Isolation

As per the CPCB guidelines, masks and gloves used by people other than COVID-19 patients, whether infected or not, should be cut and kept in paper bags for a minimum of 72 hours before discarding it as dry general solid waste. The same rule applies for discarding PPEs (Personal Protective Equipments) by the general public at commercial establishments, shopping malls, institutions, and offices.

People in home quarantine should segregate their COVID-19 related waste that includes masks, tissues, cotton swabs and other waste into a yellow bag so that it can go for incineration.

Similarly, hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare establishments need to segregate the waste into four streams as per the Guidelines for Quarantine Facility COVID-19 issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

1. Eye protection goggles, recyclable materials like pens, plastic water bottles and bed sheets are to be kept in red bins. The collected waste is to be disinfected through autoclave or microwave or hydroclave and sent for recycling.

2. Sharp waste including metals is to be discarded in white bins. For the treatment, sterilisation is to be followed by shredding or containers mutilation or encapsulation.

3. Glassware, tube light, CFL bulbs, LED used in quarantine facility are to be kept separately in a cardboard box marked blue. The waste is to be disinfected and sent for recycling.

4. Used personal protective equipment (PPE), gloves, shoe covers, head covers, disposable bed sheets, and PPE with spill is to be discarded in a yellow bin and incinerated or buried in deep pits.

Also Read: Bar Code System Used To Manage Bio-Medical Waste In Punjab: Health Minister

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

19,66,15,634Cases
6,33,31,644Active
12,90,85,240Recovered
41,98,750Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,66,15,634 and 41,98,750 have died; 6,33,31,644 are active cases and 12,90,85,240 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 4:07 am.

India

3,15,72,344 44,230Cases
4,05,155 1,315Active
3,07,43,972 42,360Recovered
4,23,217 555Deaths
In India, there are 3,15,72,344 confirmed cases including 4,23,217 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,05,155 and 3,07,43,972 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

62,90,156 7,242

81,933 3,980

60,75,888 11,032

1,32,335 190

Kerala

33,49,365 22,064

1,55,327 5,287

31,77,453 16,649

16,585 128

Karnataka

29,01,247 2,052

23,277 685

28,41,479 1,332

36,491 35

Tamil Nadu

25,55,664 1,859

21,207 314

25,00,434 2,145

34,023 28

Andhra Pradesh

19,62,049 2,107

21,279 280

19,27,438 1,807

13,332 20

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,373 60

784 16

16,84,834 44

22,755

West Bengal

15,26,539 766

11,300 70

14,97,116 822

18,123 14

Delhi

14,36,144 51

554 19

14,10,541 70

25,049

Chhattisgarh

10,01,781 130

2,086 140

9,86,175 270

13,520

Odisha

9,74,132 1,615

15,276 489

9,53,088 2,039

5,768 65

Rajasthan

9,53,622 17

259 9

9,44,410 26

8,953

Gujarat

8,24,829 27

268 6

8,14,485 33

10,076

Madhya Pradesh

7,91,796 18

130 0

7,81,153 18

10,513

Haryana

7,69,858 30

712 10

7,59,516 17

9,630 3

Bihar

7,24,719 46

481 1

7,14,596 42

9,642 3

Telangana

6,43,716 623

9,188 126

6,30,732 746

3,796 3

Punjab

5,99,005 58

553 6

5,82,162 60

16,290 4

Assam

5,64,030 1,299

14,114 385

5,44,695 1,664

5,221 20

Jharkhand

3,47,105 56

259 22

3,41,720 34

5,126

Uttarakhand

3,41,982 48

669 3

3,33,952 51

7,361

Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,207 181

1,144 5

3,15,686 175

4,377 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,05,728 229

1,098 145

2,01,110 84

3,520

Goa

1,70,900 90

1,077 5

1,66,679 93

3,144 2

Puducherry

1,20,725 98

972 49

1,17,961 49

1,792

Manipur

96,824 1,000

10,895 27

84,408 1,016

1,521 11

Tripura

78,059 271

3,640 221

73,665 488

754 4

Meghalaya

63,745 731

5,750 294

56,933 423

1,062 14

Chandigarh

61,948 5

37 1

61,102 4

809

Arunachal Pradesh

47,477 335

4,252 49

43,000 383

225 1

Mizoram

37,171 764

11,862 252

25,168 511

141 1

Nagaland

27,653 67

1,299 51

25,798 114

556 4

Sikkim

26,132 276

3,297 180

22,498 92

337 4

Ladakh

20,324 4

60 4

20,057 8

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,643 1

36 5

10,603 6

4

Lakshadweep

10,162 7

70 6

10,042 13

50

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,534 3

10 3

7,395

129

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