Only around 15% of biomedical waste is considered to be hazardous waste. However, at present the treatment of this waste is much more important!

If you haven’t read my last blog “How to Manage COVID-19 Waste?” then I strongly suggest you read it first.

Continuing from the last blog about how every concerned person should manage the COVID-19 waste or biomedical waste. Read the role or duties of listed authorities in disposing biomedical waste:

  1. Common Biomedical Waste Treatment Facility (CBWTF)
  2. State Pollution Control Board (SPCB)/Pollution Control Committee (PCC)
  3. Urban Local Bodies (ULB)

Note: This blog is based on CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) guidelines.

Duties of CBWTF in Disposing Biomedical Waste

  • Upon receiving COVID-19 waste from quarantine centers/homes, isolation wards, or COVID-19 testing centers. The concerned CBWTF should report about it to SPCBs/PCCs.
  • Ensure every worker involved in biomedical waste management to follow sanitization protocols.
  • Provide adequate PPEs  such as nitrile gloves, three layer masks, splash proof aprons/gowns, safety goggles, and gumboots to every worker 
  • Use vehicles that are assigned only to collect COVID-19 waste.
  • Ensure every vehicle is properly sanitized with sodium hypochlorite or similar chemicals after every trip. That is after collecting and dropping off the COVID-19 waste.
  • Making sure that there is no delay in dropping off the COVID-19 waste at the facility. However, if the quantity of biomedical waste is in huge quantities then CBWTF may operate extra time. But prior information should be provided to concerned SPCBs/PCCs.
  • The record of collecting, treating and disposing COVID-19 waste should be maintained separately.
  • If the workers have any symptoms of illness then they should not be allowed to work. In fact they can be provided with adequate leaves without affecting the salary.
  • Every CBWTF operator/waste handler should be registered with ‘COVID19BWM’, a tracking application, along with the vehicles for disposing waste. Moreover, use the same application to enter the data of biomedical waste that is received and disposed of.
  • Provide appropriate training to every waste handler with safety precaution measures. Moreover, workers above the age of 50 years should not be involved in handling COVID-19 waste. However, they can be posted for non COVID-19 waste management.

Duties of SPCBs/PCCs in Disposing Biomedical Waste

  • Maintain every record of quarantine centers/homes, and isolation wards in respective states.
  • Ensure proper segregation, also collecting/disposing biomedical waste following biomedical waste management rules, 2016 guidelines.
  • Authorize CBWTFs to work extra time if needs arise. Moreover, may allow them to collect the waste whenever required.
  • If a particular state doesn’t have CBWTF or doesn’t have access to one. Then the existing facilities in that particular state may be identified for disposing COVID-19 waste. However, this should be provided under biomedical waste management rules, 2016 and as per CPCB guidelines.
  • Should coordinate with CBWTFs and ULBs to establish facilities for collecting and disposing COVID-19 waste
  • If the amount of yellow color coded COVID-19 waste generated is higher than the capacity of existing CBWTFs and the captive BMW incinerators. Then permit hazardous waste incinerators at existing treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) or captive industrial incinerators. That is only if it exists in that particular state.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, they may also direct the ULBS for collecting dry general solid waste from facilities. However, should ensure safety precautions are in place while disposing of the waste to the designated area.
  • SPCBs/PCCs should use COVID19BWM. This is to track and verify COVID-19 waste. Moreover, to submit the data to CPCB regularly.
COVID-19 waste management
Guidelines on COVID-19 waste management (Source: CPCB)

Duties of ULBs in Disposing Biomedical Waste

  • Information on each quarantine homes/camps/home-care should be available with local authorities and also provide the updated information to concerned SPCBs/PCCs periodically.
  • To ensure that biomedical waste and general solid waste generated from facilities are not mixed. Therefore, these wastes should be collected separately.
  • Inform the responsible persons that are operating these facilities to collect general solid waste and biomedical waste in separate bags. Also, to tie them properly before handing over to the authorized ULBs waste collectors. Consequently, waste such as left over food or general solid waste should not be collected in yellow bags.
  • In quarantine camps, ensure that identified CBWTFs are collecting the waste. Therefore, CBWTF contact details should be provided to the camps.
  • Provide CBWTFs staff with necessary support and security including authorization.
  • If required, ULBs would have to provide CBWTF operators for door service to pick up biomedical waste from these facilities. That is based on the situation. However, in order to do so ULBs would have to make an agreement with CBWTF.
  • Provide yellow bags for collecting waste to the concerned person operating the facility. However, if required, it may be provided through CBWTF as well.
  • For depositing biomedical waste establish common waste deposition sites following the guidelines of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. Likewise, general solid waste gathered from these facilities should be disposed off as per Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Educate the citizens regarding segregation of the waste generated.
  • May take additional measures based on the current situation. However, implementing these measures should be under the CPCB guidelines.
  • Assign a designated nodal person to be responsible for waste management for a specific facility. Moreover, ensure that the nodal person is using ‘COVID19BWM’ to update the data.
  • Provide basic training to waste handlers with the help of NGOs on solid waste management.
  • Ensure segregated general solid waste is collected regularly. Also, to dispose of following Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • If ULBs are unable to manage the solid waste that are generated from different facilities with their existing staff. They can also hire professional  agencies for waste management. This is to ensure that there is no delay in collection and disposal of waste.
  • ULBs may also adopt following practices while handling the waste:
    1. Use dedicated carts / trolleys / vehicles for transportation based upon the type of waste.
    2. Ensure every vehicle is properly sanitized with 1% sodium hypochlorite after every trip.
    3. For precautionary measures spray disinfectant solution (1% sodium hypochlorite solution) to bags containing waste before disposal. Moreover, practice the same for collecting yellow bags from the bin.

Conclusion

As mentioned in my previous blog, it is a known fact that disposing or collecting these waste inappropriately poses a great risk. Moreover, it poses a high chance in spreading the virus that is destroying the livelihood potential of many. So, being the responsible citizen, let’s make sure we follow every basic precaution to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus.

“COVID-19 has had a serious impact on all parts of our society, and waste management is no exception. Waste management in developing countries is usually not operated in accordance with international standards, and so there have been additional difficulties with an increased amount of potentially infected waste which requires additional careful handling and treatment processes.” 

Mr. Kazunobu Onogawa

Director of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)

richard singha
Author

He is an author who writes about new technologies and environmental issues. His work has been honored and shared on several social media platforms. His research focuses on the effect of waste on the environment. A prolific researcher and writer, he has written several blogs which aim to provide knowledge and information on how to manage the waste and tackle the issues that are being created. Focusing on environmental topics, his work also aims at developing a solution that will not only lessen the waste but also generate revenue out of it. His goal is to make the surroundings more comfortable, conserved, and greener than it is today.

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