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Maharashtra’s Panchgani Is Fighting COVID-19 By Segregating Bio-Medical Waste At Household Level

Panchgani, a hill station in Maharashtra has modified its waste management practices by adding a separate bin for bio-medical hazardous waste to the wet and dry waste segregation system being practised at the household level in order to fight the rising COVID-19 medical waste

Maharashtra’s Panchgani Is Fighting COVID-19 By Segregating Bio-Medical Waste At Household Level
Highlights
  • Panchgani has won accolades for being one of the cleanest cities
  • The residents are fined wit Rs. 500 on failing to segregate their waste
  • Panchgani generates five tonnes of waste per day

New Delhi: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), COVID-19 will be part of our lives for the time to come, even after the development of the vaccine. In this scenario, it is obvious that states will open up and as the lockdown rules ease, demand for all kinds of personal protective gears like masks, gloves, goggles and others by the individuals is only going to increase. The new post-pandemic reality will increase the quantity of domestic hazardous waste generation at the household levels. The government had framed new regulations about handling of COVID-19 waste in April, under the Bio-Medical Waste (BMW) Management Rules 2016, however, these rules are majorly targeting hospitals, isolation wards, quarantine centres and other medical centres. While experts seek norms and better waste management system for the disposal of COVID-19 medical waste at the household level, Panchgani, a small hill city in Maharashtra has taken to decentralised segregation or segregating of waste at the household level, to fight the rising COVID-19 waste in the city.

Also Read: World Environment Day 2020: COVID-19 Pandemic Has Thwarted The Fight Against Single-Use Plastic, Say Experts

Talking about the efforts, Laxmi Rajendra Karatkar, President Panchgani Hill Municipal Council said,

There are about 15,000 households in my city but we get lakhs of tourists every year. There are some boarding schools too. Managing waste was a challenge earlier as there were several garbage points here. But with consistent efforts, we have been able to remove all garbage points and have developed a very practical and useful system of waste management. We have made waste segregation at source mandatory. Each household, shop and institution was directed to put the dry and wet waste separately and hand over to waste collectors in separated form only. When the pandemic hit the country, we decided to add the third bin component to the present system which is a waste bin hazardous items like medical waste, batteries, and other such items.

She further added that each household has been directed to store their medical wastes like medicines, syringes, masks, gloves, tissues and other items which could be contaminated with viruses in a separate bin. The waste collection is done every day by the civic body is sent to a Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment (CBMWT) facility in the nearby town Satara, she said. She added that the municipal council has imposed a fine of Rs. 500 on failing to segregate the waste before handing it over to the waste collector. Ms. Karatkar said,

Bio-medical waste poses health hazards to the sanitation workers as they sort the waste by hand as they sell the metal, plastic, cardboard and other such items. They are already on the frontline and so more vulnerable to catching the virus. Putting them at more risk of being exposed to the virus is simply not acceptable.

Also Read: World Environment Day 2020: This Is How The Environment Is Healing During The COVID-19 Lockdown

Appreciating the efforts of Panchgani Hill Municipal Council, Swati Singh Sambyal, a municipal solid waste expert, based in New Delhi said that the municipal council follows a ‘best practice’ and provides a model for other cities. She said,

It is good that the Panchgani which is a tourist attraction has already boost up its waste management system and is focusing on inculcating the habit of using the three-bin system at home.

The civic body has established a group of waste collectors called ‘swachhagrahis’ who are playing a major role in raising awareness about the hazards of the bio-medical waste and importance of keeping it separate from other waste. 40-year-old Madhu, a swachhagrahi said,

The pandemic has brought a lot of change in the behaviour of the people. They have become more cautious in order to protect themselves from the virus. A lot of them also ensure that they dispose of their masks safely and collect the bi-medical waste in a separate bin or bag. But some are yet to get used to this practice. We remind them and tell them that this practice will keep them and us safe.

The city generates about five tonnes of waste per day out of which about four tonnes is green waste which is completely used in composting.

Earlier in May, a woman and her son who migrated from Mumbai were tested positive who received treatment at a hospital in Satara and currently there are no COVID-19 patient in Panchgani. However, the city has prepared itself for the worse and has converted one hospital into a COVID-19 hospital. Collection of waste from hospitals and other medical facilities is being done by trained professionals following the standard operating procedures for bio-medical waste handling and the waste is taken to the CBMWT, Satara every day.

Also Read: World Environment Day 2020: PM Modi Reiterates Pledge To Preserve Biodiversity, Other Ministers Follow The Suite, Plant Trees

World

22,90,75,864Cases
19,16,26,474Active
3,27,49,574Recovered
46,99,816Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,90,75,864 and 46,99,816 have died; 19,16,26,474 are active cases and 3,27,49,574 have recovered as on September 21, 2021 at 3:56 am.

India

3,35,04,534 26,115Cases
3,09,5758,606Active
3,27,49,574 34,469Recovered
4,45,385 252Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,04,534 confirmed cases including 4,45,385 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,09,575 and 3,27,49,574 have recovered as on September 21, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,24,498 2,583

45,229 1,281

63,40,723 3,836

1,38,546 28

Kerala

45,24,158 15,692

1,67,578 6,623

43,32,897 22,223

23,683 92

Karnataka

29,68,543 677

14,386 1,025

29,16,530 1,678

37,627 24

Tamil Nadu

26,47,041 1,661

16,984 15

25,94,697 1,623

35,360 23

Andhra Pradesh

20,39,529 839

14,388 311

20,11,063 1,142

14,078 8

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,680 11

194 4

16,86,599 15

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,173 524

7,810 96

15,35,699 608

18,664 12

Delhi

14,38,517 20

379 8

14,13,053 28

25,085

Odisha

10,20,754 510

4,947 96

10,07,666 600

8,141 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,094 38

297 7

9,91,234 43

13,563 2

Rajasthan

9,54,263 9

91 10

9,45,218 19

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,737 14

133 3

8,15,522 17

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,402 8

96 0

7,81,789 8

10,517

Haryana

7,70,746 13

340 6

7,60,598 7

9,808

Bihar

7,25,901 7

69 1

7,16,173 8

9,659

Telangana

6,63,662 208

4,991 14

6,54,765 220

3,906 2

Punjab

6,01,323 59

307 10

5,84,517 38

16,499 31

Assam

5,98,423 455

4,984 72

5,87,632 517

5,807 10

Jharkhand

3,48,125 9

55 1

3,42,937 10

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,393 11

267 6

3,35,736 17

7,390

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,069 128

1,461 32

3,22,191 159

4,417 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,140 234

1,616 54

2,11,871 177

3,653 3

Goa

1,75,583 85

810 36

1,71,478 48

3,295 1

Puducherry

1,25,517 54

867 56

1,22,818 109

1,832 1

Manipur

1,18,673 178

2,183 6

1,14,658 183

1,832 1

Tripura

83,905 51

346 10

82,750 40

809 1

Mizoram

81,460 1,731

15,140 1,008

66,057 721

263 2

Meghalaya

79,667 174

1,896 5

76,391 168

1,380 1

Chandigarh

65,188 7

41 4

64,329 3

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,126 56

410 12

53,444 67

272 1

Sikkim

30,971 16

654 59

29,937 74

380 1

Nagaland

30,907 43

467 17

29,786 59

654 1

Ladakh

20,737 7

138 4

20,392 3

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 1

10,666 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,359 3

8 3

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,600

13 0

7,458

129

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