Delhi generated 14 times more COVID-19 biomedical waste in July compared to May: EPCA report

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Published: July 31, 2020 9:52 AM

The municipal corporations can be directed to ensure that they educate households about segregation and also send the bio-medical waste for treatment to common facilities only, it said.

Delhi generated 372 tonnes COVID-19 biomedical waste per day in June.Delhi generated 372 tonnes COVID-19 biomedical waste per day in June.

The quantum of COVID-19 biomedical waste generated in the national capital has increased from 25 tonnes per day in May to 349 tonnes per day in July, the Environment and Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has said in a report submitted to the Supreme Court.

According to data shared by the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi generated 372 tonnes COVID-19 biomedical waste per day in June, it said.

The city has two common biomedical waste treatment facilities (CBWTFs) — SMS Water Grace Private Limited and Biotic Waste Solution Limited — which can treat 24 tonnes and 50 tonnes of waste per day, respectively.

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, responsible for collecting COVID-19 bio-medical waste from houses of patients undergoing home quarantine, have been sending these to waste-to-energy plants, which have incinerators with large capacities.

Delhi has three waste-to-energy treatment plants at Sukhdev Vihar-Okhla, Narela-Bawana and Ghazipur.

Delhi’s coronavirus infection tally stood at 8,895 on May 15 and went up to 42,829 on June 15. It further increased to 1,16,993 on July 15.

Six districts of Uttar Pradesh in National Capital Region (NCR) — Baghpat, Gutam Buddh Nagar, Hapur, Ghaziabad, Meerut and Muzaffarnagar — together generated 247.32 tonnes COVID-19 biomedical waste per day in July as compared to 137 tonnes per day in June and 14.5 tonnes per day in May, the report said.

Thirteen districts of Haryana in NCR, including Faridabad, Gurgaon, Karnal, Panipat and Sonipat, together generated 162.23 tonnes COVID-19 waste per day in July as compared to 155.89 tonnes per day in June and 54.1 tonnes per day in May, according to the EPCA report submitted in the Supreme Court.

The authority recommended to the apex court that all municipal corporations and state pollution control boards be directed to use the COVID19BWM mobile application developed by the CPCB to track biomedical waste.

“This may be made mandatory, so that CPCB can track all the bio-medical waste and ensure that it is being sent for treatment,” it said.

The South Delhi and North Delhi Municipal Corporations, which have been sending their biomedical waste to waste-to-energy (WTE) plants, can be directed to send these to common biomedical waste treatment facilities, the EPCA suggested.

“This is because WTEs are not designed to incinerate bio-medical waste, which needs a double-incineration chamber and protocols for storage and emission control,” it said.

It also sought directions to pollution control boards of Haryana, UP, Rajasthan and Delhi to ensure that all common facilities have online continuous emission monitoring systems (OCEMS) installed in the plants and that the data from this is transmitted to both the state board website and CPCB.

The CPCB can be directed to ensure that the data from real-time OCEMS is monitored on a daily basis and information shared with state boards so that action can be taken, where necessary, it said.

The EPCA also said that segregation of COVID-19 waste at the household quarantine needs to be done with utmost care so that infected bio-medical waste is sent for incineration and it is not mixed with general solid waste.

The municipal corporations can be directed to ensure that they educate households about segregation and also send the bio-medical waste for treatment to common facilities only, it said.

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