VIJAYAWADA: Throwing biomedical waste at Pathapadu dumping yard on the outskirts of Vijayawada has become a cause of concern for people living there during Covid-19.Though there are a set of norms issued by Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board for safe disposal of biomedical waste, they are not being followed properly.
When TNIE carried out a groundlevel inspection, it found PPE, used face masks, empty saline bottles, oxygen masks packed in yellow-coloured bags along with the regular solid waste at the dumping yard. Ragpickers are afraid to go near them. They said throwing of biomedical waste into the yard could lead to serious health hazards not only for them, but also for stray animals who feed on the waste.
“We end up picking saline bottles, syringes and hand gloves and separate the plastic from domestic waste. Every night, two or three trucks bring biomedical waste mixed with municipal solid waste and dump it here. The VMC should look into the matter soon,” a rag picker said. Locals pointed out that the smoke from burning solid waste is affecting their mango plantation in and around the landfill.
VMC Chief Medical Officer for Health (CMOH) Geeta Bai said used PPE are contaminated products and should be treated and disposed of as per Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016. The private hospitals are responsible to dispose of the biomedical waste. City-based Safenviron was given the task of safe disposal of biomedical waste from the hospitals, she said.
“A meeting will be held with private hospital shortly. They will be instructed to tie up with an empanelled biomedical waste processing agency, if they have not done so far, to prevent throwing waste into Pathapadu dumping yard,” she said. Looking at the hand gloves dumped there, she observed labs or clinics, hotels and restaurants staff in the vicinity must be the culprits.
“We have installed four CCTVs covering a major portion of the yard to monitor if anybody was throwing biomedical waste. But the CCTVs have been damaged by unknown persons. The officials have been directed to rectify the matter at the earliest,” VMC Commissioner V Prasanna Venkatesh said.