KOCHI: The local self government department (LSGD) and the health department are going to have a tough time ensuring the scientific disposal of tonnes of biomedical waste generated at the polling booths across the state including masks, gloves, PPEs, face shields etc during the elections. IMAGE (Indian Medical Association Go Ecofriendly), the only biomedical waste treatment facility in the state has refused to do it.
Ever since the pandemic outbreak, the amount of biomedical waste generated in the state has increased exponentially. IMAGE has been repeatedly prompted to push their limits and cart away more biomedical waste to their only facility at Palakkad. It is learned that the IMAGE has increased their capacity to 58 tonne per day, while the current average daily generation of biomedical waste is around 62 tonnes per day. An official of IMAGE said that the agency will not collect or dispose of poll-related biomedical waste.
The official alleged that the state government has taken no effort to hold a meeting with the IMAGE authorities or officially inform it about the additional waste generation during the local body elections.
“We have no plan to turn our facility into another Vilappilsala. We are trying our best to avoid accumulation. Before Covid-19, the daily generation of biomedical waste in the state was around 42 tonnes per day. On Sunday, there were around 64 tonnes of waste generated and we could dispose of only 58 tonne. We are not getting any support from the government and we cannot collect more,” said the official. The official said that the government owes them around `4.5 crore for the services so far.
According to the official, though the elections were announced several weeks ago, the state made no effort to plan biomedical waste management. He added that IMAGE has been writing to the government for the past two years asking for proper measures. “We requested the government to exempt us from the recent strike, but that was in vain. We couldn’t collect or treat the waste on that day,” said the official. In a letter issued on December 5, the state election commission has directed the Director of Health Service to ensure the scientific disposal of waste generated during the polls and directed the official to interact with IMAGE authorities.
MANY YEARS OF NEGLECT
According to the official, though the local body elections were announced several weeks ago, the state made no effort to plan biomedical waste management. He added that IMAGE has been writing to them for the past two years asking for proper measures