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Improper handling of bio-medical waste in homes increasing Covid threat in Delhi, fear experts

Garima Singh New Delhi | Updated on July 22, 2020 Published on July 22, 2020

PPE kits and other medical waste disposed at Ghazipur landfill in New Delhi   -  PTI

Lack of awareness and accountability on waste segregation the main issue, say experts

Improper handling of bio-medical waste in homes is increasing the Covid-19 threat in Delhi, fear experts, despite guidelines being made available for the same.

As per the guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board on June 10 for handling, treatment and disposal of Covid-19 waste for suspected patients in home care, the biomedical waste should be collected in yellow bags and given to authorised waste collectors at door steps.

“When it comes to proper segregation of waste, people in Delhi are not following the rules. They are still not segregating toxic bio-medical waste from household waste as mandated, since there is no proper awareness or accountability. The government needs to actively promote the use of cloth masks so that consumption of single-use disposable plastic masks is reduced. There is a need to understand that for sustainable waste management, it is important to focus on waste reduction,” said Chitra Mukherjee, Head - Advocacy and Policy, Chintan, a Delhi-based NGO.

There are two biomedical waste management facilities in the national capital — in Nilothi (with an installed capacity of 19 tonnes per day) and SSI Industrial Area (13 tonnes).

No waste segregation

Swati Singh Sambyal, a Delhi-based waste management expert said that when it comes to waste segregation, there is lack of awareness, and this can be seen in this Covid-19 pandemic. The waste management system is not strengthened.

“In Delhi, roughly 32-40 per cent people properly segregate dry and wet waste. If we also take into consideration domestic hazard waste, not more than 10 per cent of the people in the national capital would be doing it. If everyone starts segregating waste properly at home, then we will reduce the chance of getting infected through waste,” she said.

Navjeevan Vihar, a residential area in South Delhi has taken various steps to curb Covid-19 waste. “Our objective was to reduce the usage of disposable masks and gloves. We distributed paper bags and washable masks to the residents to reduce wastage. Instead of using gloves, we asked them to wash their hands frequently. We have been doing wet and dry waste segregation since last year, and started segregating domestic hazard waste now,” said Ruby Makhija, Secretary - Resident Welfare Association, Navjeevan Vihar.

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Published on July 22, 2020
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