Photos: Covid-19 aggravates India’s biomedical waste crisis

Updated On Jun 25, 2020 07:53 PM IST

Over the past three months, India’s overflowing landfills have seen the addition of hazardous biomedical waste to their ever-rising piles. This waste brings severe health risks over and above the existing ones to waste pickers, sanitation workers and garbage collectors that function in them. The coronavirus pandemic has thus created a new waste crisis.

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Used personal protective equipment (PPE) kits improperly disposed at a graveyard in New Delhi on June 23. In the past three months, PPE including masks, gloves, face shields, shoe covers, and sanitiser bottles have ended up in already overflowing landfills, posing a health risk to waste pickers, sanitation workers and garbage collectors tasked with handling them. (Sanjeev Verma / HT Photo) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jun 25, 2020 07:53 PM IST

Used personal protective equipment (PPE) kits improperly disposed at a graveyard in New Delhi on June 23. In the past three months, PPE including masks, gloves, face shields, shoe covers, and sanitiser bottles have ended up in already overflowing landfills, posing a health risk to waste pickers, sanitation workers and garbage collectors tasked with handling them. (Sanjeev Verma / HT Photo)

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Family members and health workers in PPE during the cremation of a Covid-19 victim at Nigambodh Ghat on June 22. In Delhi, over 40 sanitation workers have tested positive for the virus, and 15 have lost their lives. In Mumbai, 10 workers and two security guards at the city’s two landfills, in Deonar and Kanjurmarg, have been infected with Covid-19, and recovered. (Sonu Mehta / HT Photo) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jun 25, 2020 07:53 PM IST

Family members and health workers in PPE during the cremation of a Covid-19 victim at Nigambodh Ghat on June 22. In Delhi, over 40 sanitation workers have tested positive for the virus, and 15 have lost their lives. In Mumbai, 10 workers and two security guards at the city’s two landfills, in Deonar and Kanjurmarg, have been infected with Covid-19, and recovered. (Sonu Mehta / HT Photo)

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A man throws a used glove into a dustbin overflowing with used PPE bodysuits at Nigambodh Ghat cremation ground in New Delhi on June 23. From a daily necessity for health workers to individual and organisation level usage, PPE gear has become ubiquitous in recent months. India is on the brink of a Covid-induced waste crisis, and authorities are aware of it. (Sanjeev Verma / HT Photo) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jun 25, 2020 07:53 PM IST

A man throws a used glove into a dustbin overflowing with used PPE bodysuits at Nigambodh Ghat cremation ground in New Delhi on June 23. From a daily necessity for health workers to individual and organisation level usage, PPE gear has become ubiquitous in recent months. India is on the brink of a Covid-induced waste crisis, and authorities are aware of it. (Sanjeev Verma / HT Photo)

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According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines, biomedical waste is to be disposed off in yellow bags meant for incineration at a common biomedical waste treatment facility (CBWTF). As are items in contact with Covid-19 patients. This waste is either taken to a CBWTF or a waste-to-energy plant, where it is either incinerated, autoclaved or burnt to produce energy. (Sanjeev Verma / HT Photo) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jun 25, 2020 07:53 PM IST

According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines, biomedical waste is to be disposed off in yellow bags meant for incineration at a common biomedical waste treatment facility (CBWTF). As are items in contact with Covid-19 patients. This waste is either taken to a CBWTF or a waste-to-energy plant, where it is either incinerated, autoclaved or burnt to produce energy. (Sanjeev Verma / HT Photo)

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A health worker pours a sample into a Covid-19 antigen test kit in Delhi’s Bapa Nagar on June 22. “We share the list of everyone in home isolation in the district with the waste collectors. There are stickers outside the houses, so they know. The garbage from these houses is collected last and taken in a separate vehicle for proper disposal as biomedical waste,” a senior district official from Delhi told HT. (Sonu Mehta / HT Photo) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jun 25, 2020 07:53 PM IST

A health worker pours a sample into a Covid-19 antigen test kit in Delhi’s Bapa Nagar on June 22. “We share the list of everyone in home isolation in the district with the waste collectors. There are stickers outside the houses, so they know. The garbage from these houses is collected last and taken in a separate vehicle for proper disposal as biomedical waste,” a senior district official from Delhi told HT. (Sonu Mehta / HT Photo)

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Medical workers and family members remove their PPE after the funeral of a person who died of COVID-19 in Delhi on June 23. The country has 200 biomedical waste treatment facilities; of these two are in Delhi and one is in Mumbai. And according to CPCB data, these facilities are already running at 60% capacity – that’s a 15% jump since March. (Sanjeev Verma / HT Photo) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jun 25, 2020 07:53 PM IST

Medical workers and family members remove their PPE after the funeral of a person who died of COVID-19 in Delhi on June 23. The country has 200 biomedical waste treatment facilities; of these two are in Delhi and one is in Mumbai. And according to CPCB data, these facilities are already running at 60% capacity – that’s a 15% jump since March. (Sanjeev Verma / HT Photo)

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A family member in PPE during the cremation of a relative who died of COVID-19, at Delhi’s Nigambodh Ghat on June 22. “The biomedical waste plants are established based on projections of how much the biomedical waste generation will increase in the next say, 10 years. We didn’t foresee something like Covid-19 coming. It’s a once-in-a-hundred-years crisis,” Vikas Gehlot, spokesperson for Biotic, a CBWTF in Delhi told HT. (Sonu Mehta / HT Photo) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jun 25, 2020 07:53 PM IST

A family member in PPE during the cremation of a relative who died of COVID-19, at Delhi’s Nigambodh Ghat on June 22. “The biomedical waste plants are established based on projections of how much the biomedical waste generation will increase in the next say, 10 years. We didn’t foresee something like Covid-19 coming. It’s a once-in-a-hundred-years crisis,” Vikas Gehlot, spokesperson for Biotic, a CBWTF in Delhi told HT. (Sonu Mehta / HT Photo)

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PPE kits being disposed out in the open after the funeral of a person who died due to coronavirus in Delhi. If, and it’s very likely to be so, Covid-19 cases rise further in the coming months – and testing capacities continue to get ramped up – some cities, including Delhi might have to send its Covid-19 waste to neighbouring states for disposal, CPCB scientists warn. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jun 25, 2020 07:53 PM IST

PPE kits being disposed out in the open after the funeral of a person who died due to coronavirus in Delhi. If, and it’s very likely to be so, Covid-19 cases rise further in the coming months – and testing capacities continue to get ramped up – some cities, including Delhi might have to send its Covid-19 waste to neighbouring states for disposal, CPCB scientists warn. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)

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