Biomedical waste poses a threat to global public environmental health and with the “plastic footprint” growing larger by the day due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, concerns over plastic waste are choking the planet are intensifying.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India has generated nearly 146 tonnes of biomedical waste every day due to the activities of diagnosing and treating Covid-19 patients. Between June 2020 and May 10, 2021, India produced 45,308 tonnes of Covid-19 biomedical waste. This is in addition to the 615 tonnes of biomedical waste produced per day before Covid-19, data from the pollution control office showed.
This is an increase of almost 17% in the production of biomedical waste solely because of the pandemic.
âThere has been a general increase and since it is a crisis situation, we are not thinking of plastic but of general prevention. the environmental nonprofit Toxics Link, saying.
Agarwal also noted that a lot of biomedical waste such as face masks, PPE kits are generated by normal households and also contribute significantly to the problem. âThese things find their way through ecosystems. A lot of these things like masks can be seen on beaches, in coral reefs, etc.,â he also said.
Besides Covid-related medical waste, which also contributes to plastic waste, it is people who are using home delivery services more than before for essential and non-essential purchases.
The lack of Covid waste disposal mechanisms is also a major factor in the problem.
Under existing CPCB rules, biomedical waste is separated into four categories. While the yellow category relates to waste classified as âhighly infectiousâ – such as human, animal, anatomical and soiled waste – the red relates to contaminated recyclable waste generated by disposable items such as tubes, bottle tubes, bottles, bottles. syringes.
Sharp objects like needles, syringes with fixed needles are classified in the white category and broken or discarded and contaminated glassware, including medicine bottles, are classified in the blue category.
However, as Covid waste is considered potentially infectious, it is labeled yellow and incinerated. “We never know the extent of the pollution we do … We convert our land-based pollution into water or air pollution. That’s what we end up doing,” said Siddharth Singh, deputy program director at the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), according to PTI.