August 11, 2009 12:20:49 am
With masks being littered across the streets,landing at dumping grounds and raising fears that this will help swine flu spread faster,worried government officials have once again stressed the use of handkerchiefs.
Hospitals are using biomedical waste systems. However,people are throwing away masks which may carry the virus, said Chief Secretary Johny Joseph.
Additional chief secretary (health) Sharvaree Gokhale agreed: There is a threat of the virus spreading if masks are dropped just anywhere. They could lie on the streets and spread the virus. We recommend the use of handkerchiefs,which are washed everyday.
Experts advised people to burn masks after one use or dispose of them at a biomedical waste facility. Masks should be changed after six hours.
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Most hospitals in Mumbai use an autoclave on medical waste. An autoclave is a device to sterilise substances by subjecting them to high pressure steam.
NICD experts said that ideally medical waste such as masks and gloves should be incinerated,though they do not have such a facility and use autoclaving.
Incineration is a technology that involves the combustion of organic materials and/or substances. It converts waste into bottom ash,flue gases,particulates,and heat,which can in turn be used to generate electric power. Flue gases are cleaned of pollutants before they are dispersed in the atmosphere.
An incinerator set up in the T B hospital premises in Sewri has been dysfunctional and shut down following complaints from residents. BMC hospitals usually autoclave biomedical waste.
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