Bio-med and COVID ‘wasteline’ reduces as corona cases drop in Maharashtra

With COVID-19 cases showing a downward trend and a declining number of patients at the isolation wards, the overall bio-medical waste (including COVID waste) generated across Maharashtra has reduced as compared to September and October. The bio-medical and COVID-19 waste generated across the state crossed 100 tonne per day mark in September, the same has now reduced to 75 tonne (75,000 kg) per day and less from the first week of November.

While the amount of other bio-medical waste in the state has remained around 50 tonne and the amount of coronavirus bio-medical waste has halved to around 25 tonne per day starting the first week of November.

"Initially, the accumulated COVID-19 biomedical waste in the state went up to 40 tonne in July. Meanwhile during the same time amount of other bio-medical waste too doubled. As a result, the total bio-medical waste per day reached a 100-tonne mark by August. In September, the figure rose to over 100 tonnes," said a state public health department official.

In March, when the first case was reported in Mumbai, starting that month 3.48 lakh kg bio-medical waste was generated in the city with an average of 11,230 kg per day. The city which on an average generated 9,000-13,000 kg of bio-medical waste per day during pre COVID times was suddenly burdened with an additional 10,000-15000 kg of COVID-related biomedical waste daily. The total bio-medical waste including COVID-related waste had crossed 30,000 kg per day in September. The amount of COVID bio-medical waste generated in the city too has halved after the first 15 days of November 2020.

With the increasing amount of BWM generated, earlier, civic body had faced problems in disposal of the bio-medical waste as the generation was higher than the treatment plant’s capacity. The only treatment plant at Deonar which is being operated by SMS Envoclean has the capacity of treating 15 metric tonne and after an increase in bio-medical waste generation, civic officials had written to the firm to enhance the capacity. However, following complaints from locals and to ease the burden on the sole BMW treatment plant in the city, The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in September directed the treatment plant in Deonar to divert 50 per cent of COVID waste to the BMW treatment facility in Taloja.

"Yes the amount of COVID waste generated daily across the city and in the state has come down as compared to September and October," said an executive engineer of BMC solid waste management department. Civic officials have attributed the decrease in the biomedical-waste generation to the steadying numbers of COVID-19 cases in the city. BMC officials said that one of the reasons for this is the decreasing number of new COVID cases and patients at COVID care and isolation centres.

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