Biomedical waste from COVID hospitals poses major challenge

Srinagar, April 1: Hospitals housing COVID patients are generating two tonnes of the highly contagious biomedical waste every day in the valley.

The waste includes syringe needles, medicine bottles, drip sets, pipes, bed sheets, gowns, gloves, tissues, and other disposable items used by the patients.

An official of Srinagar Municipal Corporation said people collecting the waste do not have the expertise for proper disposal. “The SMC safaikaramcharis collecting the waste do not have the proper equipment. There should be impermeable gloves for such work which we don’t have,” he said

 Health experts have called for proper disposal of the waste to prevent the spread of infections.

“The waste generated from COVID 19 hospitals are highly infectious and should be disposed of after pre-treatment segregation. It is necessary that the waste should be treated with hypochlorite solution because the people associated with collecting waste might be at risk of getting infected,” said Doctor’s Association Kashmir, president, Dr. Suhail Nayak.

Head of the Community Medicines at Government Medical College, Srinagar, Dr. Salim Khan said the waste produced from the COVID-19 hospitals have to be burnt after collecting it in special yellow bags

 “It is mandatorily that COVID-19 waste should be burnt under controlled temperature and pressure. Mostly the temperature should be beyond 1000 degrees Celsius which,” he added. 

  Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) stressed has asked for using, double-layered bags (two bags) for waste collection to prevent any leaks.

 Experts said people associated with waste management should be provided appropriate and adequate personal protective equipment including head cover, N-95 respirator masks, eye goggles/face shield, full-sleeved outer impermeable gown/coveralls, gloves, and shoe covers.

 “Ensure proper sanitization of gadgets and vehicles used for the collection of waste. Gadgets used in such special vehicles shall be disinfected at a regular frequency or daily. Operators shall provide a separate vehicle for collection and transportation of COVID-19 waste, such vehicles shall be properly disinfected after every round, the trip, using certified sanitizers, floor & surface,” the CPCB said.

 Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Gazanfar Ali said they are following the guidelines to dispose of biomedical waste generated from COVID-19 hospitals. “We have installed incinerators in which the waste is incinerated under controlled temperature. Temperature is raised above 500 degrees Celsius to destroy it completely”, he said.  

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