VIJAYAWADA: Concerns over the indiscriminate dumping of biomedical waste in the dumping yards have only increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. While the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the country’s pollution watchdog Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have issued guidelines and directed the State governments to follow them strictly while handling the Covid-19 biomedical waste, many personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, used masks, empty saline bottles, oxygen masks and other waste material packed in yellow-coloured bags were found disposed of, along with the regular solid waste, at Ajit Singh Nagar dump yard in Vijayawada on Friday.
When asked, dump yard supervisor Srinivas denied it was biomedical waste.
However, one of the excavator operators, on condition of anonymity, told TNIE that the waste was brought from Covid-19 facilities. When contacted, Vijayawada Municipal Corporation chief V Prasanna Venkatesh said, “The hospitals have to tie up with empanelled biomedical waste processing agency. The empanelment is done by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB). We don’t take the biomedical waste and it is the responsibility of hospitals to dispose it of.”
City-based Safenviron, which has been disposing of biomedical waste generated from Krishna and Guntur districts since 1999, has also been entrusted with the task of disposing of Covid-19 biomedical waste. Safenviron director V Venkateshwara Rao said that the company personally collects biomedical waste only from the hospitals.
“Initially for over a month, we used to collect biomedical waste from every facility - hospitals, COVID care centres and quarantine centres. But since June, we started collecting medical waste only from hospitals. While, VMC workers collect the biomedical waste from various places and dump it at the yard, our workers pick it up everyday.”
He said that even if the waste is brought to the yard, it has to be kept separately and away from garbage. APPCB chief BSS Prasad said, “Normally, the waste is directly taken to the disposal unit of the company. All the vehicles used by the company to collect and transport waste have GPS.”