Updated: August 16, 2021 12:32:46 pm
Maharashtra topped the country in the generation of bio-medical waste at 8,317 tonnes between June 2020 and June 2021, according to a document submitted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in Lok Sabha last month.
This is a quantum leap from 2019-20, when only 62.3 tonnes of bio-medical waste was generated.
The report states that India generated 56,898.4 tonnes of Covid-19 Bio-Medical Waste (BMW) between June 2020 and June 2021. Maharashtra was followed by Kerala (6,442 tonnes), Gujarat (5,004), Tamil Nadu (4,835), Delhi (3,995), Uttar Pradesh (3,881) and Karnataka (3,133).
The bio-medical waste increased with the rise hospitalisations in many states during the second wave and its peak during May this year. PPE kits, gloves and masks form the bulk of the Covid waste.
An official from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) said, “Maharashtra numbers (BMW generation) are higher than the other states because there is a better network of waste collection and disposal and data sharing than the other states. Also, owing to advanced medical treatment facilities and speciality hospitals in Mumbai, Bio-Medical waste generation is high from the state.”
Data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) shows that the highest daily bio-medical waste in India was generated in May at about 250 tonnes per day (TPD) when the second wave was at its peak in multiple states. The peak generation last year was in the 180-220 TPD range.
Experts have warned that in many states there is a gap in Covid waste generated and its disposal. Disposal of masks by citizens in common dustbins are likely to be mixed with municipal waste.
Last year, a study by MPCB on ‘Impact evaluation of Covid-19 pandemic on environmental attributes’ showed that bio-medical waste generation of the state increased by 45 per cent.’
On average, 62.3 tonnes of bio-medical waste was generated every day in 2019-20, which increased to 90.6 tonnes per day by end of May last year. According to Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), there are 31 bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facilities in the state, of which 29 are incinerators, while the rest are burial facilities.
“In Mumbai, the solid waste management department collects Covid-19 waste and hands it over to SMS Envoclean Private Limited, which is disposed at Deonar Plant facility,” said a civic official. The Deonar plant has a capacity of 25 metric tonnes daily.
Bio-medical waste includes syringes, medicines, used masks, gloves, urine bags, body fluid or blood-soaked tissues or cotton, PPE used by staff on Covid duty. All this waste is collected in yellow bags with biohazard symbols on them. Other municipal solid wastes like food, disposable plates generated from quarantine centres are collected in black bags.
According to the MPCB directive under Biomedical Waste Management Rules 2016, “the biomedical waste generated from the hospitals shall be collected and disposed of in accordance with the procedure specified, within 48 hours.”
With a drop in the daily Covid cases in Mumbai, the current Covid-19 bio-medical waste generated is around 18 tonnes per day, down from a maximum of 50-55 tonnes per day in April this year.
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