Spike in biomedical waste amid pandemic, disposal a challenge - ECAS Punjab

Spike in biomedical waste amid pandemic, disposal a challenge

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Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7

As the number of persons afflicted with Covid-19 rises in Punjab, there has been a sharp increase in the volume of biomedical waste. Over 2,700 kg of virus-laden waste was generated every day in June.

The Covid biomedical waste (PPE kits, gloves, masks, goggles, face shields, dressings, beddings contaminated with body fluids or blood, blood bags, needles, syringes and cotton swabs) is other than the normal waste generated in hospitals and nursing homes across Punjab.

With Covid-19 cases on the rise, the authorities expect further increase in biomedical waste

Data given by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB)points out that against an average of 2,710 kg of Covid biomedical waste generated in June, the waste generated per day between May 18 and 31 (when curfew was lifted) was 1,930 kg per day. Against 27,083-kg Covid waste collected from isolation wards, institutional quarantine centre, sample collection centres and laboratories conducting the tests between May 18 and 31, 81,400-kg waste had been collected in June, which is more than the waste collected between March 25 and May 17 (a total of 72,194 kg).

Though the board is yet to collate the data for the first week of June, a private agency hired by the authority for the disposal of waste in five districts of the state, said there was a 15 per cent jump in daily Covid biomedical waste generated since the beginning of July. Sarabjit Singh, proprietor of Rainbow Environment Private Limited, which collects waste from Jalandhar, Mohali, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Nawanshahr, said 500 kg of waste was being collected from just five districts now. With Ludhiana, Amritsar and Sangrur among the worst-hit districts having maximum active cases, the waste collection there would have increased manifold.

Krunesh Garg, member secretary of the board, said to meet any exceptional increase in the volume, the board was identifying more industrial incinerators, where this waste could be disposed of.

"Special teams monitor the handling, transportation and disposal of waste at five common biomedical waste treatment facilities. While the yellow category Covid waste is immediately incinerated, the red, blue and white category waste is first disinfected through autoclaving and then incinerated," he said.

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/2O2Sunk

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