Tamil Nadu

Biomedical waste generation doubles

With the rise in COVID-19 cases, there are concerns about the disposal of huge quantities of biomedical waste. Last year, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) released a set of standard operating procedures to be followed by those who test positive.

Biomedical waste, generated from homes and hospitals and COVID-19 Care Centres, must be collected and safely disposed of, in accordance with the protocol, either through incineration or deep burial.

Civic bodies across Tamil Nadu maintain that they observe the protocol religiously. Biomedical waste must be collected in yellow bags.

Local body officials said that the amount of waste had almost doubled. According to a Chennai Corporation official, each COVID-19 patient may generate 1 kg of biomedical waste a day. In the past fortnight, 11,000 kg was collected from patients in home quarantine and sent for disposal to agencies authorised by the TNPCB.

A sanitary inspector in the Coimbatore west zone said waste mostly comprised used gloves and masks.“We used to handle around three tonnes a day from hospitals in Coimbatore and Tiruppur districts before the pandemic. Now, we are handling six to seven tonnes a day,” said J. Suriyanarayanan, a partner in Tekno Therm Industries, a common treatment facility. S. Sudhakar, another partner, said 80 employees were working with protective gear in three shifts.

Western region

Kovai Bio Waste Management Private Limited collects nearly two tonnes of biomedical waste from the Nilgiris. It also handles biomedical waste from hotels that have been turned into COVID-19 Care Centres, testing laboratories and a few smaller hospitals. “Our staff and their family members eligible for vaccination have been vaccinated. Vehicles collecting biomedical waste are disinfected after every trip,” said the company’s managing director S. Bhuvaneswari.

In the limits of Salem Corporation, biomedical waste from over 1,000 patients in home isolation is collected daily by an authorised agency. In Dindigul Corporation, five of the 48 wards have been declared containment zones.

The Udhagamandalam and Coonoor municipalities in the Nilgiris have designated vehicles to visit the homes of people in isolation to collect the waste. “However, following a fire at the facility, the incinerator is not working. Instead, the waste is buried,” said a worker. In Coonoor, the waste is disposed of at the waste management park at Ottupattarai.

Erode Corporation Commissioner M. Elangovan said all the yellow bags collected from various wards were transported in a separate vehicle to the compost yard at Vendipalayam and buried in deep pits. Hospital biomedical waste is collected by a private agency and disposed of at the incineration plant.

Southern region

The waste is collected twice a day in the Rameswaram and Paramakudi municipalities, which have the highest number of patients in Ramanathapuram district.

The Madurai Corporation has stopped providing bags as “the number of cases is rising rapidly, and it is difficult to strictly comply with the rules like last year,” a sanitary inspector said.

An official of the Vellaikkal dump yard said that around 650 tonnes of general waste collected in Madurai reaches the yard daily.

In Tiruchi, biomedical waste from the COVID-19 Care Centres are sent to the common facility in Thanjavur for disposal.

Northern region

In Vellore, Ranipet, Tirupathur and Tiruvannamalai districts, nearly five tonnes of waste is generated from 800 places. Of this, four tonnes is COVID-19 pathological waste, which is incinerated. TNPCB officials said they were monitoring the entire process.

(With inputs from

Tamil Nadu Bureau)


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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 4:09:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/biomedical-waste-generation-doubles/article34553182.ece

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