Vardhan emphasis need for long term solutions for management of biomedical waste

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New Delhi, Oct 28 (PTI) Union minister Harsh Vardhan has stressed the need for long term solutions for management of biomedical waste, especially during the time of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Science and Technology said on Wednesday. Addressing a webinar on 'The Future of Liquid Waste Management amidst COVID-19: What lies ahead?', he said, 'The need for biomedical waste management is quite significant today, there is a need for strict compliance of the rules and regulations already in place for safe disposal of such biomedical waste.' The webinar was organised recently by the India Water Foundation (IWF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and supported by the Department of Science and Technology and the Jal Shakti Ministry.

'The Union minister of Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Vardhan, has underlined the need for long term solutions for management of biomedical waste so as to ease the pressure on health and environment, specifically in a pandemic like situation,' the statement said.

The main objective of the webinar was to have a holistic understanding on various facets of waste management in the context of COVID-19 along with socio-environmental impacts.

The sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic early this year has imposed massive health and economic burdens on communities around the world and affected every sector of the society, including the wastewater sector, it said.

Among all the categories of biomedical waste, liquid waste poses a serious threat to human health and environment because of its ability to enter watersheds, pollute groundwater and drinking water when improperly handled and disposed off.

Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, DST, highlighted innovations to tackle this waste that has been formed in the last 4-5 months like garbage bins with virus neutralising inner lining for hospitals by institutions like Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum.

According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, India generated 18,006 tonnes of COVID-19 biomedical waste in the last four months, with Maharashtra contributing the maximum (3,587 tonnes) to it.

Around 5,500 tonnes of COVID-19 waste was generated across the country in September - the maximum so far.

Since June, all states and union territories have generated 18,006 tonnes of COVID 19-related biomedical waste, which is being collected, treated and disposed off by 198 common biomedical waste treatment facilities. PTI PR KJ