MUMBAI: With the increase in the number of corona positive cases in Maharashtra, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked citizens to dump medical waste, such as masks and gloves, separately. Ashok Khaire, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Solid Waste Management Department, BMC announced that the corporation has also asked to segregate the medical waste at source and inform the waste collector accordingly. Face masks are being dumped regularly by people with their household garbage, which has increased the risk of infection for the waste pickers.
As per the Union Health ministry, infected people are advised to wear the mask and dispose off the single-use mask after wearing it for six hours. But due to the pandemic situation, everyone is using the single-use mask and disposing them off with their household waste without following guidelines, risking the lives of others.
As per the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health, used masks, especially those used by “patients/care-givers/close contacts” under home-care, are to be considered “potentially infected” and should be disinfected with sodium hypochlorite solution (1 per cent) or ordinary bleach solution (five per cent) and then disposed of either through deep burial or by burning it.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines for handling biomedical waste, “If a person is being under home-care, biomedical waste should be collected in yellow bags and it should be handed over to authorised waste collector with information about the waste. ULBs (Urban Local Bodies) should engage Common Biomedical Waste Treatment Facility (CBWTFs) to pick-up such waste either directly from quarantined houses or identified collection points.”