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NGT directs Centre, State for scientific disposal of COVID-19 waste

NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar headed the bench and directed the Union Territories and Chief Secretary of States to closely monitor the handling, transport, scientific storage and disposal of COVID-19 waste.

Apr 25, 2020 09:00 IST
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National Green Tribunal directed a team on April 24 to supervise the scientific disposal of COVID-19 waste as per the guidelines. The team comprises of Centre and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The tribunal mentioned that as the BioMedical Waste Rules deal with waste generated in infectious disease, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a further challenge in the scientific disposal of waste.

NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar headed the bench and directed the Union Territories and Chief Secretary of States to closely monitor the handling, transport, scientific storage and disposal of COVID-19 waste.

Importance of scientific disposal of COVID-19 waste:

As per National Green Tribunal, the improper handling of COVID-19 waste can pose a grave threat to the environment and to the health of the people.

As COVID-19 has affected a number of people, the disposal of COVID-19 waste in general bins to be a part of municipal waste, the unscientific way of handling sewage and other liquid waste without safeguard can also turn to be hazardous.

Key Highlights:

The bench directed that at the National level, let a high-level task team of Health, Urban Development, Ministry of Environment, Defence, Jal Shakti, and CPCB supervise the scientific disposal of COVID-19 waste.

The bench also directed the state departments of Environment and Pollution Control Board to follow Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016. It should also furnish action take reports to CPCB.

CPCB must take the further steps and furnish a consolidated report to NGT of the measures taken and the ground status as on May 3, 2020. The report can be furnished by June 15.

Measures suggested by NGT:

NGT suggested incorporating best practices in the light of further experience. It is important that apart from continued supervision and monitoring, the data must be compiled in an online format. There must also be the use of the digital manifest system to track and log COVID-19 waste.

There is also a need for creating awareness regarding the precautions along with the steps taken by the handlers, workers as well as the citizens.

The tribunal has also urged the Pollution Control Committee and State Pollution Control Board to put serious efforts to eliminate the risk of unscientific disposal of COVID-19 waste.

On April 19, CPCB issued revised guidelines for the management of waste generated during the treatment and diagnostics of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients.

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