Tirupati: Disposal of biomedical waste to be a challenge

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Highlights

  • Huge quantities of waste like used syringes, vaccine vials, cotton, etc., may be generated
  • CPCB guidelines on handling and disposal of waste during Covid-19 pandemic will have to be followed at the time of vaccination drive too

Tirupati: Ahead of Covid vaccination drive which is expected to take off early next year, the disposal of biomedical waste assumes significance among several other things. Around 3.6 lakh healthcare workers will be vaccinated in the first phase in the state for which almost equal number of disposable syringes are required.

This will be followed by seven lakh frontline staff of other departments and nearly one crore people of above 50 years of age. While the supply, storage, transportation and inoculation of vaccine is important, the disposal of used syringes, vaccine vials, cotton contaminated with blood and other associated material is even more crucial and will be an uphill task as there would be a huge quantity of such waste.

The Central government issued a new vaccination protocol under which biomedical waste management is one vital aspect. All the biomedical waste needs to be transferred to a Common Biomedical Waste Treatment Facility (CBTWF) where it has to be incinerated.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued guidelines for handling, treatment and disposal of waste generated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) officials have educated the paramedical staff and others on these guidelines explaining them how to segregate solid waste and bio medical waste. The Executive Engineer of APPCB in Tirupati A Narendra Babu told The Hans India that biomedical waste needs to be stored separately before handing over to the CBWTF. The private agency collects this waste in separate containers duly wearing PPEs and takes it to the incinerator for burning.

Chittoor district immunisation officer Dr C Hanumantha Rao said that the government has already issued strict guidelines for biomedical waste disposal. The medical officers and other health staff who will be involved in Covid vaccination will be trained well in advance.

Already, there is an existing system of biomedical waste disposal in primary health centres (PHCs).

Each PHC has been paying Rs 4,000 to an agency every month for handling biomedical waste for disposal. The same procedure may be adopted for Covid vaccination also though the detailed guidelines are awaited.

The government is very particular in following Covid protocol in every aspect and all issues will be addressed from time to time, he explained.

However, once the vaccine is made available for inoculation, a clear picture will emerge on how much excess waste may generate during the process as it will involve PPEs, gloves, masks along with syringes, vials, cotton, etc., Arrangements will also be made simultaneously to handle biomedical waste for proper disposal.

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