Pollution watchdog asks isolation wards to take precautions for waste disposal

New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI) With coronavirus cases surging to over 340 in the country, the central pollution watchdog has directed all health care facilities to take precautions in disposal of waste from isolation wards and issued guidelines for the same.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed all health care centres across the country to keep separate colour-coded bins or containers in wards and maintain proper segregation of waste as per the Bio-Medical Waste (BMW) Management Rules, 2016 as amended, and the CPCB guidelines for implementation of the BMW Management Rules.

The CPCB said the biomedical waste, if any, generated from quarantine centres or camps should be collected separately in yellow coloured bags and bins.

'As precaution, double layered bags (using two bags) should be used for collection of waste from COVID-19 isolation wards so as to ensure adequate strength and no-leaks,' the CPCB notification to health care facilities in all states said.

It said the quarantine camps, centres and home-care for suspected COVID-19 cases need to treat the routine waste generated from such quarantine facilities as general solid waste and the same needs to be disposed as per the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

'However, biomedical waste if any generated from quarantine centres/camps should be collected separately in yellow coloured bags and bins,' it said.

In addition, there should be mandatory labelling of bags/containers used for collecting biomedical waste from COVID-19 wards that should be labelled as 'COVID-19 Waste', the guidelines said, adding that the marking would enable the Common Biomedical Waste Treatment Facility (CBWTF) to identify the waste easily for priority treatment and disposal immediately upon the receipt.

'Use dedicated trolleys and collection bins in COVID-19 isolation wards. A label 'COVID-19 Waste' to be pasted on these items also,' it said.  The notification said in case of home-care for suspected patients, biomedical waste should be collected separately in yellow bags and the same shall be handed over to authorised waste collectors engaged by local bodies.

Besides these, the state pollution control bodies have been directed to maintain records of all COVID-19 treatment wards, quarantine centres and homes in the respective states and ensure proper collection and disposal of biomedical waste as per BMW Rules.

In its notification, the CPCB said, 'In order to address the issue of waste generated during diagnostics, quarantine, treatment/ management of COVID-19 patients, CPCB held consultations with experts on the subject and prepared guidelines for handling, treating and disposal of COVID-19 waste.

'In addition to the existing practices of handling biomedical waste and general solid waste under Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules 2016 and SWM Rules respectively, these guidelines need to be practised,' it said, adding, 'these guidelines be widely circulated for strict compliance among all the stakeholders. PTI AG RDM RDM