BHUBANESWAR : With the rising number of coronavirus cases in the State Capital, biomedical waste generated from people in home isolation has raised serious concern. The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has failed to streamline the process of collection and disposal of biomedical waste, triggering new challenges.
More than 7,000 people in the city are in home isolation. According to sources, an infected person generates 500 gm biomedical waste on an average every day. This amounts to a staggering 3.5 tonne of biomedical waste per day from residential areas. However, there is no adequate provision for systematic collection and disposal of these waste.
As per the guidelines of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), biomedical waste of Covid patients in home isolation has to be collected through double layered non-chlorinated disposable plastic bags. The agencies collecting the trash are supposed to provide the bags to patients for safe collection, transport and disposal. However, in absence of adequate awareness, patients in home isolation are either dumping waste at random places or mixing it with regular garbage collected by the sanitation agencies, leaving the sanitation workers exposed to the infection. Around 90 per cent of the waste are mixed with regular garbage, sources said.
During the first wave of the pandemic after active cases in the city surged to around 3,000 causing more people to undergo home isolation, the BMC, in adherence to the CPCB guidelines, engaged sanitation agency Jagruti Welfare Organisation for collection of the waste and Sani Clean Pvt Ltd for its disposal at Tangiapada near Khurda. Four vehicles were engaged to collect the waste. The move, however, proved inadequate after which the civic body announced to increase the number of vehicles.
Ward officials of BMC said despite this mess last year, no proper mechanism was put in place to streamline it. “In Pokhariput area of Ward no 62 where many cases have been detected, the door-to-door collection of garbage has become a risky affair. The civic body or the private agency concerned has not even provided PPE kits to them for their safety,” said field officials of BMC. The civic authorities couldn’t be reached for their comment in this matter.