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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Rise in Covid waste in Mumbai: Sena corporator proposes high-capacity incinerators

In June, a daily average of 22,023 kg Covid-19 waste was generated by hospitals and quarantine centres, while a daily average of 11,000-12,000 kg such waste has been generated by them in September so far, civic data states.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai | Updated: September 18, 2020 11:24:41 am
Coronavirus cases, Covid death, Chandigarh news, Punjab news, Indian express newsOn September 26, three more volunteers at the PGIMER were given the dose of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield and ten more people were screened. (Representational)

With a spike in biomedical waste generation amid the coronavirus pandemic in the city, Shiv Sena corporator and improvement committee chairman Sadanand Parab has proposed the civic body should construct high-capacity incinerators at civic hospitals.

In June, a daily average of 22,023 kg Covid-19 waste was generated by hospitals and quarantine centres, while a daily average of 11,000-12,000 kg such waste has been generated by them in September so far, civic data states.

According to civic officials, in April the BMC had called for expression of interest from companies to set up 30 biomedical incinerators for Covid-19 hospitals in the city. However, the plan was later shelved. “Currently, we have one Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment Facility (CBWTF) and discussions to expand it are going on. A final decision has not been taken on the expansion. Also, there are no provisions of setting up BMW incinerators at hospitals,” an official from BMC’s Solid Waste Management department said.

Covid-19 wastes include syringes, medicines, used masks, gloves, disposable plates and leftover food from such patients.

As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines, if the Covid-19 waste generated is beyond the capacity of existing CBWTFs, the civic body can use existing industrial incinerators. Covid-19 waste, the CPCB guidelines also states, has to be collected in yellow bags, while municipal waste from containment zones in black ones. The yellow bags are burned at SMS Envoclean’s incinerators at Deonar, while the black bags are disinfected and given a deep burial at a neighbouring dumping ground.

Amended CPCB guidelines mandates that plastic waste received from healthcare facilities, which include used gloves and plastic bottles used by patients, goggles, face-shield and splash-proof aprons, has to be segregated in red bags. These bags are disinfected and kept aside to be sent to private recyclers.

However, SMS Envoclean, which has a 20-year contract to dispose Mumbai’s biomedical waste, is about to exhaust its capacity, officials said. In August, MPCB had granted it permission to send excess biomedical waste, weighing up to 5,000 kg per day, to Mumbai Waste Management Limited at Taloja in Navi Mumbai, on the condition that the contractor would bear the cost at Rs 97 per kg.

According to civic data, about 84 metric tonnes of biomedical waste and municipal solid waste are generated daily from Covid Care Centres and quarantine areas. Data shows that K East ward (Andheri East), K West ward (Juhu, Andheri west) and M West ward (Chembur) generates maximum waste.

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