Kerala

COVID-19 triggers spike in biomedical waste in Kerala

Picture for representation purpose only.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

The COVID-19-related biomedical waste generated in Kerala shot up from an average daily quantity of 1,452 kg in March last to 11,312 kg in April this year, according to the estimates by the Indian Medical Association Goes Eco Friendly (IMAGE).

The total daily average of biomedical waste (including Covid-19-related waste) recorded a massive spike since March last year. From a daily average of 34,078 kg in March, the waste generated reached 54, 512 kg in April this year. IMAGE, an initiative of the Kerala chapter of the Indian Medical Association, has been operating its Common Biomedical Waste Treatment and Disposal Facility at Palakkad from 2003 onwards.

“We cater to about 16,900 healthcare institutions across the State in the government and private sectors. The Palakkad facility, based on the incinerator model, has the capacity to treat nearly 55 tonnes of biomedical waste daily,” said Sharafudheen K.P, secretary of IMAGE.

The worsening pandemic scenario has resulted in a massive spike in biomedical waste. With IMAGE’s Palakkad facility unable to meet the increasing quantity of waste, the government has given its nod to start the operations of a common biomedical waste treatment facility under the Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Ltd. in Ambalamedu here immediately.

The official figures revealed that the daily generation of biomedical waste was above 50,000 kg from September last year. October witnessed the highest quantity of an average 55,307 kg daily.

The average daily quantity showed an increase from 52,551 kg in March to 54, 512 in April this year in tune with the surge in COVID-19 cases following the second wave. The pandemic-related average daily waste, which included masks, gloves, PPE kits etc., went up from 10,911 kg in March to 11, 312 kg in April this year.

“As per our estimates, the average quantity of biomedical waste generated in government hospitals was nearly 660 g per bed while the corresponding figure in private hospitals was nearly 188 g. The data showed that government hospitals were generating a higher quantity of biomedical waste compared to the private hospitals,” pointed out Dr. Sharafudheen.

The bar-coded collection bags and containers provide IMAGE with a real-time monitoring of the collection and transportation process daily. The system helps the people involved to find out those responsible for any careless handling or dumping of the bags in violation of the rules.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 4:51:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/covid-19-triggers-spike-in-biomedical-waste-in-kerala/article34532898.ece

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