PIL filed before NGT over violation of bio-medical waste disposal in Bengal
West Bengal - An environmentalist has filed a petition before the National Green Tribunal, alleging violation of the Central Pollution Control Board's guidelines for disposal of medical waste in West Bengal in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Use of double-layered bags, mandatory labelling and colour-coded bins for the management of waste generated during the diagnosis and treatment of suspected and confirmed COVID- 19 patients are part of the guidelines issued by the apex pollution monitoring body.
"There is a sharp rise in coronavirus casualty in West Bengal, especially in Kolkata and Howrah.
waste generated from home quarantine is a major concern, which is not collected and disposed off as per the guidelines issued by the CPCB," environmentalist Subhas Dutta said, citing his application filed on Thursday.
The CPCB said specific guidelines are required to be followed by all, including isolation wards, quarantine centres, sample collection units, laboratories, urban local bodies and common biomedical waste treatment and disposal facilities, in addition to existing practices.
The bio-medical wastes like masks, tissue paper, used cotton, gloves or any other material may carry the virus, experts said.
These may get mixed with normal municipal waste in absence of a proper medical waste disposal system, they said.
Referring to a quarantine centre near his home in Howrah, he said the medical waste may not be disposed off in the facility as per the standard protocol of the CPCB.
"Persons suspected to be infected with the coronavirus are staying at the facility. People coming from outside the state are also quarantined there. I think adequate precautions are not being taken to separate the medical waste of suspected persons and others," he told PTI.
Dutta said letters regarding violation of guidelines for the medical waste disposal in the state have been sent to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the government departments concerned to address this problem. "... presently the problem is unattended for which judicial intervention has become inevitable," he said in his letter.
However, a health department official said the hospitals and facilities involved in the treatment of COVID-19 patients are following the guidelines for medical waste disposal. He said all the state agencies concerned are regularly monitoring the situation.
Asked about the petition, filed before the NGT over alleged violation of medical waste disposal, an official of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board declined to make any comment.
The state pollution control board is preparing a report on compliance of guidelines for proper disposal of bio-medical waste generated at hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
The board will submit the report to the NGT in the next month for its consideration, he added..