Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding scientific disposal of biomedical waste, 20/07/2020
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of In re: Scientific Disposal of Bio-Medical Waste arising out of Covid-19 treatment- Compliance of BMW Rules 2016. The issue for consideration is the remedial action to address the gaps in compliance of the BMW Rules, 2016, as applicable to the disposal of bio-medical waste arising out of handling of COVID-19 disease.
The CPCB filed its report on June 17, 2020 mentioning the steps taken and ground status of compliance. The report said that improper segregation of waste has been reported from COVID-19 isolation wards, quarantine centres and quarantine homes. As per the provisions under Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016, Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and CPCB’s COVID-19 guidelines, segregation of wastes was essential for effective management of wastes.
Mixing of general solid waste with biomedical waste would result in additional load on Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment and Disposal Facility (CBWTF) incinerators, which are not designed for domestic solid waste. The CPCB report said that non-segregation of waste resulted in incineration of contaminated plastics.
The NGT order, reiterated that segregation of Covid-19 from general waste was necessary - not only to avoid additional load on CBWTF incinerators but also in the interest of avoid further contamination adversely affecting public health. Also, there should be regular monitoring by the Chief Secretaries, state pollution control boards (PCBs) and pollution control committees (PCCs) and health departments in the states and union territories.
Where waste was not going to CBWTF incinerators, deep burial systems should be maintained - taking all due precautions to prevent harm to the environment, the order said. The tribunal also asked the CPCB to submit a consolidated report compiled from information collected from all the state PCBs/PCCs. The report should contain information, as on October 30, 2020 and filed by December 31, 2020.