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BIOMEDICAL WASTE DISPOSAL POSES A HUGE CHALLENGE

Why in news?

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented a unique challenge where the country has to deal with an unestimated amount of such waste exclusively from Covid hospitals, quarantine centres and home quarantine facilities.

How is it being handled now?

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had issued detailed guidelines in April on handing Covid-linked medical waste and launched a mobile app last week to track its collection and disposal.
  • It specified scientific ways to collect, transport and dispose of such waste and asked state pollution control boards to adhere to it while monitoring the entire process.
  • The guidelines had specific dos and don’ts for handing Covid-19 related waste — categorised yellow for highly infectious waste — at healthcare facilities, quarantine camps/homes, home care facilities, sample collection centres, laboratories, isolation wards and Common Biomedical Waste Treatment Facilities (CBWTF).

Work on ground

  • Many states had assigned the job of collection and disposal of biomedical waste to private agencies and deployed dedicated vehicles for waste transportation till the CBWTFs.
  • Civic bodies in many cities have also engaged trained manpower for its collection from quarantine homes/centres and home care facilities.
  • It is the responsibility of the respective state pollution control boards/committees to maintain records of Covid-19 treatment wards, quarantine centres, quarantines homes and ensure proper collection and disposal of biomedical waste as per CPCB guidelines.

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
  • It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act, 1974.
    CPCB is also entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It Co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them.
  • It is the apex organisation in country in the field of pollution control, as a technical wing of MoEF 

-Source: Times of India

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