Coronavirus is a name that has created terrors globally and nationally. This is something that is beyond any measures right now and precaution is the only solution. Some of us panicking and are checking the news every half an hour. But are we conscious of the fact that this virus may also spread due to improper waste disposal? Yes, maybe we do not think this as we are much preoccupied checking the facts, figures and the latest updates.
However, waste disposal plays a vital role in taking proper precautionary measures as said by Dr Bhaskar Ganguly, a Post graduate trainee at Railway Hospital, Mumbai.
We must maintain a few things religiously to prevent the spread. Let us get these in points –
- Maintain a separate record of waste generated from COVID-19 isolation wards.
- Use dedicated trolleys and collection bins in COVID-19 isolation wards. A label “COVID-19 waste’ has to be paste on these items also.
- The (inner and outer) surface of containers/bins/trolleys for storage of COVID-19 waste should be disinfected with 1% sodium hypochlorite solution daily.
- Report opening or operation of COVID-19 ward and COVID ICU ward to SPCBs (State Pollution Control Board) and respective CBWTF (Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment and Disposal Facility) located in the area.
Depute Sanitation workers:
- Depute dedicated sanitation workers separately for biomedical waste and general solid waste so that they collect waste and transfer that on time to a temporary waste storage area.
- Sample Collection Centers and Laboratories for COVID-19 suspected patients.
- Report opening or operation of COVID-19 sample collection centres and laboratories to concerned SPCB. Apply the guidelines given for isolation wards suitably in case of test centres and laboratories also.
Responsibilities of persons operating Quarantine Camps/Homes or Home-Care facilities:
Less quantity of biomedical waste is expected from quarantine Camps / Quarantine Home/ Home-care facilities. However, the persons responsible for operating quarantine camps/centres/home-care for suspected COVID-19 persons need to follow the below-mentioned steps to ensure safe handling and disposal of waste.
a) General solid waste (household waste) generated from quarantine centres or camps should be handed over to waste collector identified by Urban Local Bodies or as per the prevailing local method of disposing of general solid waste.
b) Biomedical waste if any generated from quarantine centres/camps should be collected separately in yellow-coloured bags (suitable for biomedical waste collection) provided by ULBs (Urban Local Bodies).
c) These bags can be placed in separate and dedicated dust-bins of appropriate size.
d) Persons operating Quarantine camps/centres should call the CBWTF operator to collect biomedical waste as and when it gets generated. Contact details of CBWTFs would be available with Local Authorities.
Waste disposal ways for home care patients:
Persons taking care of quarantine home / Home-care should deposit biomedical waste if any generated from suspected or recovered COVID-19 patients, by following any of the following methods as may be arranged by ULBs –
a) Hand over the yellow bags containing biomedical waste to authorized waste collectors at doorsteps engaged by local bodies; or
b) Deposit biomedical waste in yellow bags at designated deposition Centers established by ULBs. Store the bag in yellow bag or container; or
c) Handover the biomedical waste to waste collector engaged by CBWTF operator at the doorstep.
Dispose of the waste or leftover edibles if you have a patient at home quarantine:
- Urban Local Bodies are responsible for ensuring safe collection and disposal of biomedical waste if any, generated from Quarantine Camps/ Quarantine Homes/ Home Care for COVID-19 suspected persons.
- Information on each Quarantine Camps/ Quarantine Homes/ Home-Care should be available with local administration and provide an updated list to SPCBs from time to time.
- In the case of quarantine camps, ensure that biomedical waste is collected directly by CBWTFs identified by ULB. Waste from quarantine camps to be lifted by CBWTFs on-call basis as and when the biomedical waste gets generated. Provide contact details of CBWTF operator at Quarantine Camps.
- Provide necessary support, security including authorisation to the staff of CBWTFs.
- ULB shall engage CBWTF operator for the ultimate disposal of biomedical waste collected from quarantine home/home care or waste deposition centres or from doorsteps as may be required depending on the local situation; ULB shall make an agreement with CBWTF in this regard.
ULBs envisage following options to facilitate safe collection and disposal of biomedical waste from quarantined homes/Homecare:
a) Engage authorized waste collectors for doorsteps collection of biomedical waste and transfer to collection points for further pick-up by CBWTF; and/or
b) In case number of quarantined homes/Home-care units are less, ULBs may engage services of CBWTFs to collect the waste directly from door-steps.
c) Provide yellow coloured bags (designated for BMW) to the persons responsible for operating Quarantine Camp or home-care. If required, such bags may be provided through CBWTF.
This is a national crisis everyone is facing. But we must keep hopes alive that we will fight back and stand healthy setting example to others. The one and only answer to this COVID19 is ‘STAY HOME’.