Maharashtra: 30 common facilities set up for scientific disposal of Covid-19 bio-medical waste
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) authorities informed the Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday that 30 common facilities have been set up for scientific disposal of the bio-medical waste generated by coronavirus disease (Covid-19) generated across the state, which has emerged as the worst-affected in the country as far as the viral load and death toll are concerned.
In an affidavit filed in the HC, Shankar Waghmare, MPCB’s regional officer at Kalyan, has stated that the waste generated at Covid-19 treatment centres, isolation and quarantine facilities are being disposed of in accordance with provisions of the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2000, by burying them in deep pits at civic dumping grounds.
Contaminated bio-medical waste from these centres is being collected by the common treatment facility operators for scientific disposal at separate, dedicated sites, the affidavit further stated.
It added that 82℅ of urban local bodies in Maharashtra have set up separate teams for the collection of contaminated Covid-19 waste.
The affidavit was filed in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Dombivli resident Kishor Sohoni, who had complained that though prevailing rules mandate scientific disposal of bio-medical waste, those generated at a Covid-19 facility in Kalyan was being dumped at Adharwadi landfill site by garbage collectors.
The PIL, filed through advocate Sadhana Kumar, expressed concerns about the discriminate dumping of contaminated bio-medical waste at the landfill waste amid the rapid spread of the viral infection.
“During this pandemic, the direct disposal of bio-medical waste from Covid-19 hospitals is a serious threat to human life and should be stopped immediately,” it said.
“Rigorous monitoring is required to ensure such waste does not end up infecting others, including garbage collectors,” it added.
However, MPCB has maintained that no Covid-19 bio-medical waste was found dumped at Adharwadi landfill site in Kalyan, when Waghmare along with his colleagues and Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) officers made an inspection of the spot.
The civic body has set up a dedicated site for disposal of bio-medical waste at Umbarde, where the contaminated waste is also disposed of in a scientific manner, and MPCB has created a mechanism to monitor its collection and disposal generated within the limits of the municipal corporation, the affidavit added.
A two-member HC bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai, will hear Sohoni’s plea next week.