The Coronavirus outbreak has also led to a surge in the city’s hazardous bio-medical waste (BMW). To ease the load on Mumbai's sole BMW treatment facility, a BMC Councillor has submitted a proposal to the civic body to construct high capacity incinerators in four major and 16 peripheral hospitals. The proposal will now be tabled before the improvement committee before seeking a final nod from the civic standing committee.
The city on an average generates 9000 kg to 13000 kg of BMW per day. Now, it has an additional 10,000 kg to 15,000 kg of Covid-related BMW daily. The total BMW, including Covid waste, crossed 30,000 kg in September.
Kasturba Hospital, the nodal Covid hospital alone generates over 500 kg to 700 kg Covid and non-Covid BMW per day. This includes masks and PPEs that need to be incinerated every day. "Given the contagion, it is imperative that the bio-medical waste (especially Covid waste) is disposed of with extreme care. Instead of over burdening the common BMW treatment plant, it will be feasible for the civic body to install /construct high capacity incinerators at the hospital premises and treat the Covid waste at source," said Sadanand G Parab, Shiv Sena corporator from Santacruz and chairman of BMC's improvement committee.
Currently, the city's BMW is taken to SMS Envoclean, a facility in Deonar. The remaining is diverted to Taloja for disposal at a specially built facility. But the two facilities have already reached their peak capacity.
The civic body has proposed to set up 30 additional BMW incinerators at the dedicated Covid-19 hospitals. BMC has invited an expression of interest from companies to help them set up these BMW incinerators. “We have already installed such a facility at Kasturba. We are looking at installing around 30 incinerators at all Covid-19 hospitals for safe and quick disposal of Covid waste,” said Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health). Kakani said this will cut down on the risk and the time taken to ferry dangerous BMW across the city.
The BMC treats the solid and medical waste from areas marked as containment zones as BMW (Covid waste) too. This is disposed of in yellow bags, which are collected by workers in protective gear and eventually incinerated at Deonar and Taloja. Non-Covid BMW that include human remains are put in red bags. White bags are used for sharp objects like syringes and knives, while blue bags are used for recyclable objects like medical equipment.