NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal Tuesday said that segregation of COVID-19 waste from others is a must to avoid further contamination adversely affecting public health.
Generation of COVID-19 related biomedical waste in the country is about 101 Metric Tonnes per day, noted a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.
It said scientific management of such waste is necessary in view of potential of such infectious waste affecting patients and the concerned workers and professionals.
This quantity is in addition to normal biomedical waste generation of about 609 MT per day. Further, about 195 Common Biomedical Waste Treatment and Disposal Facilities are providing the services of collection, transportation and disposal of COVID-19 biomedical waste from hospitals, isolation wards, quarantine centres, home quarantines, home care, sample collection centres and testing laboratories, the tribunal noted.
It said that as per the information given by state pollution control boards, 2,907 hospitals, 20,707 quarantine centres, 1,539 sample collection centres and 264 testing laboratories, are involved in generation of COVID-19 waste.
The bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi, said that though several significant steps have been taken by Central Pollution Control Board and others, the gaps in compliance as mentioned need to be urgently bridged.
Segregation of Covid-19 from general waste is a must, not only to avoid additional load on CBWTF incinerators but also in the interest of avoid further contamination adversely affecting public health.
There has to be constant and regular monitoring by the Chief Secretaries, State PCBs/PCCs and Health Departments in the States/ UTs and by the High Level Task Team at Central level with further coordination by CPCB, the tribunal said.
The NGT also said that where waste is not going to CBWTF incinerators, deep burial systems may be properly maintained as per protocols taking all due precautions to prevent harm to the environment.
CPCB may take further initiatives which should include conducting of appropriate programme on Doordarshan, All India Radio and other media, the bench said and directed CPCB to file a consolidated report by December 31.
The green panel had earlier directed a team, comprising the Centre and CPCB to supervise handling and scientific disposal of COVID-19 waste in accordance with the guidelines.
The tribunal had said that while the Bio Medical Waste Rules deal with waste generated in dealing with infectious diseases, the coronavirus pandemic has presented further challenge in terms of capacity to scientifically dispose of generated waste.