Used safety kits dumped at Kodungaiyur

Hazardous material: A lorry carrying a load of used kits to the Kodungaiyur dump yard in Chennai.

Hazardous material: A lorry carrying a load of used kits to the Kodungaiyur dump yard in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: B_JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Used safety kits, including coveralls, masks and goggles, are being disposed of at the Kodungaiyur dump yard. Recently, a garbage-laden lorry that was transporting used Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits was spotted near the garbage dump yard, while rag-pickers said they found several of these blue protective coveralls, masks and goggles in the landfill.

The lorry of the Greater Chennai Corporation was spotted on the road leading to the dump yard recently. It carried blue disposable coveralls worn by healthcare providers/workers involved in COVID-19 management. The hospital waste was transported without being covered. The lorry driver said the waste was brought from the Government Stanley Medical College Hospital.

Ragpickers near the dump yard said at least two or three lorries were bringing used safety kits and dumping them at the landfill. “We are regularly finding blue gowns, masks, goggles and face shields used in hospitals in the dump yard. In fact, we asked some of the lorry drivers why such hospital waste was being brought here. The kits are dumped in a pit and covered inside the yard,” a ragpicker said.

Social activist Jawaharlal Shanmugam said he had raised the need for proper disposal of biomedical waste with Health Department officials.

‘Contaminated products’

“Used PPEs are highly contaminated products and should be treated and disposed of according to the Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016. These products should be disposed of through an incinerator as they are non-woven fabric. They should be collected at source by the government authorised common biomedical waste treatment facility providers. It is the responsibility of the Health department, the Greater Chennai Corporation and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to see that these kits are disposed of appropriately,” he said.

There has to be accountability on how such biomedical waste was disposed of.

A hospital authority said that all government hospitals had a tie-up with a common biomedical waste treatment plant operator.

“All biomedical waste is segregated and collected by the firm for a charge. We will verify if the waste was being disposed of appropriately,” he said.

Officials of the Corporation could not be reached for comment.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 12:06:50 PM |

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