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National Green Tribunal raises concern over COVID-19 bio-medical waste disposal

It expressed the need for revision of the guidelines so that all aspects of scientific disposal of liquid and solid waste management are taken care.

Published: 22nd April 2020 12:09 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2020 12:09 PM   |  A+A-

Andhra Pradesh Medical staff conducting COVID-19 rapid tests in Vijayawada on Tuesday.

Andhra Pradesh Medical staff conducting COVID-19 rapid tests in Vijayawada. (Photo | EPS)

By IANS

NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has urged the State Pollution Control Board and Pollution Control Committee to put in serious efforts to mitigate possible risk of unscientific disposal of the bio-medical waste arising out of the handling of the COVID-19 disease.

A bench headed by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, on Tuesday, raked up the issue of gaps in compliance of the Bio Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 which are applicable to the disposal of the bio-medical waste generated out of handling a viral disease.

"The State PCBS/PCCS have to make serious efforts to bridge the gap to mitigate possible risk in terms of unscientific disposal of bio-medical waste and enforce rule of law," the bench also comprising Justice S.P Wangdi and Nagin Nanda stated.

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The tribunal also perused the guidelines for 'Handling, Treatment and Disposal of Waste Generated during Treatment, Diagnosis, Quarantine of COVID-19 Patients' issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recently.

It expressed the need for revision of the guidelines so that all aspects of scientific disposal of liquid and solid waste management are taken care of not only at institution level but also at individual levels, such as manner of disposal of used Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), used bags, gloves, goggles, without the same getting mixed with other municipal solid waste causing contamination.

The bench also expressed the need to review the effectiveness of the monitoring mechanism, including securing information by way of electronic manifest system from the handlers of such waste and its online reporting by the State PCBS or PCCS by developing necessary software.

It stated that there is a need to create awareness by special awareness programmes, organising training in concerned local bodies, health departments, providing workers handling COVID-19 waste with adequate protective gear, adequate coordination with media and other concerned regulatory authorities.

The bench made the observations after noting that out of 27 lakh Health Care Facilities (HCFS) identified, only 1.1 lakh are authorised under the BMW Management Rules, 2016. "We are of the view that to the above extent, the task of the PCBs and the CPCB is part of essential health services for COVID-19. The CPCB may convey this to all concerned."

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