Gurugram stares at spike in biomedical waste

gurugram: The amount of bio-medical waste being generated in Gurugram has drastically increased in the last three months as the number of COVID-19 cases has risen in the city. While around 400 kg of biomedical waste was generated per day in April, the number has shot up to around 3,500kg daily as for June. Significantly, in April, biomedical waste contributed to around 14 per cent of total waste generated in the city whereas, by June, biomedical waste was as much as 45 per cent of the total waste being generated in Gurugram.

According to official data, a total of 15,076 kg of waste was generated in April, which increased to 33,502 kg in May and saw a sharp rise in June when a total of 1.3 lakh kg of waste was generated in the city.

While most of the biomedical waste in the city was generated by hospitals and clinics during April; with hundreds of COVID-19 patients now under home isolation, households have also become major contributors to the city's biomedical waste.

Acknowledging the challenge, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram has started planning appropriate measures beginning with categorising items like cotton swabs, medicines used for COVID-19, syringes, testing strips, nail clippings, items with blood and body fluids, masks, gloves, sanitary napkins, band-aids, diapers as biomedical waste.

MCG officials have urged residents and doctors to dispose of these items separately in a yellow bag so that it can be easily identified by the sanitation workers. Residents have also been urged not to mix biomedical waste with normal domestic waste being generated in households. A toll-free helpline number 18001025952 has also been generated for the purpose, said VP Singh the MCG Commissioner.

Compared to normal waste there are more complexities involved in disposing of biomedical waste. According to medical experts, 60 per cent of the biomedical waste that includes blood bags, body fluids, cotton swabs, face masks, caps and gloves has to be discarded in a span of 24 hours to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

They are being disposed of through incineration where the primary stage involves burning the waste at 850 degrees Celsius and the second stage involves increasing the temperature to 1,050 degrees Celsius. In Gurugram, this process is carried out every day at a site in Sector-37. Forty per cent of the waste that involves plastic equipment used for testing also has to be disposed of in 48 hours.

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