Updated: July 26, 2021 10:04:51 am
From 2.3 tonnes in March 2020 to 112.8 tonnes in June this year, a total of 1,672 tonnes (16.72 lakh kg) of Covid waste was generated across various health facilities in Punjab dealing with Covid treatment and management.
As per data compiled by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), the maximum amount of Covid waste in a month (234.5 tons) was generated in the state in September 2020, when the first wave was at its peak, followed by May this year when the second wave peaked (216.9 tonnes). The data reveals that out of 1,672 tons, 1,023 tonnes of Covid waste was generated between May and December 2020 and 524 tonnes between March and June this year.
Biomedical waste is treated by the biomedical waste management and disposal agencies the state has signed an memorandum of understanding with. As of now, there are five such agencies, each located at Ludhiana, Amritsar, Pathankot, Muktsar and Mohali. “These cater to various districts in clusters, collecting biomedical and Covid waste, segregated at the origin of collection. Covid waste is categorised separately,” said a PPCB functionary, adding that vehicles which collect biomedical and Covid waste have GPS tracking system installed, and need to collect waste daily.
“Covid waste has to be collected every 48 hours mandatorily,” the official said, adding that the quantum of waste is recorded after weighing the vehicle carrying the waste and is uploaded on a software. “PPCB monitors the exercise,” the functionary said.
As per Punjab’s nodal officer for Covid Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, there are around 160 community health centres, 400 primary health centres, 41 sub-divisional hospitals and 23 district hospitals from where Covid waste is collected, managed and disposed of.
As per July 17, 2020 guidelines by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for handling, treating and disposing of waste generated during treatment/diagnosis/quarantine of Covid patients, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as goggles, face shield, splash-proof apron, plastic coverall, hazmet suit, nitrile gloves have to be disposed of in a red bag.
Used masks, tissues and toiletries of Covid-19 patients have to be disposed in a yellow bag.
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