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Disposing home quarantine waste an issue for civic workers in Bengaluru

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on April 10, 2020

Safe disposal of bio-medical waste from Covid-19 home quarantine persons continue to pose a challenge in Bengaluru city for Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) workers.

BBMP workers, in addition to clearing routine garbage, are burdened with safe disposal of bio-medical waste, but the mushrooming number of cases in hospitals and people in quarantine has become a logistics nightmare.

The Karnataka Director of Health and Family Welfare Department has issued a circular on March 27 to all District health Officers (DHOs) to collect the waste on daily basis and handover, segregate Covid-19 waste (labelled and packed as per norms of Central Pollution Control Board) to common biomedical waste treatment facilities for safe disposal.

But households don’t segregate bio-medical waste properly.

The problems of civic workers has in turn put compactor drivers and other helpers in risk and in some places they are forced to segregate manually increasing their chances of getting infected.

“Even as the State government has been fairly successful in containing the unprecedented spread of Covid-19, we are not taking things lightly, and as such are preparing clinical and non-clinical activities,” said Pankaj Kumar Pandey, Commissioner, Department of Health and Family Welfare.

He further added “This allows us to assign specific roles to medical and non-medical staff for better efficiency and also planning to enlist volunteers to support facility functions.”

Earlier, in order to protect civic workers, as things were moving slowly, The High Court of Karnataka had directed the government to take special measures while they collect waste from houses. Also the jurisdictional officials of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) was empowered to take appropriate action and instructed that waste should be picked up from such homes in a separate vehicle. Both civic workers and vehicle drivers were provided with the necessary safety gear, such as gloves, goggles and gowns.

Published on April 10, 2020

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