Cut and store waste masks, gloves for 72 hours before disposal: CPCB

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Panaji: In its revised guidelines on disposal of COVID-19 waste, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed to treat the discarded protective personal equipment (PPEs), removed by healthcare workers, accompanying body of COVID-19 patient to crematorium / graveyard, as biomedical waste and to be disposed as per provisions under SWM Rules, 2016 and BMW Management Rules, 2016.

The guidelines issued on July 21 say the used masks from visitors to crematorium, graveyards including crematorium staff should be collected in separate bins and stored for 72 hours prior to disposal.

It mentions about different methods for collection of discarded PPEs that include placing in separate bin with yellow coloured bag and handing over to authorised waste picker engaged for disposal of such waste. It may be disposed as domestic hazardous waste (biomedical waste) and may be deposited at designated deposition centres, it says.

On management of bio-medical waste generated from coronavirus, the apex pollution board directed that masks and gloves used by everyone, whether infected or not, should be cut and kept in paper bags for minimum 72 hours before disposing them of.

The CPCB also directed commercial establishments like malls and offices to follow the same procedure with discarded protective personal equipment (PPE) from general public.

“Discarded PPEs from general public at commercial establishments, shopping malls, institutions, offices, etc should be stored in separate bin for 3 days, thereafter, disposed of as dry general solid waste after cutting/shredding,” it says.

The board asked urban local bodies to ensure that leftover food and general solid waste is not mixed with biomedical waste generated at quarantine centres/quarantine homes /homecare.

It further directed the urban local bodies to inform the persons responsible for operating isolation wards, quarantine centres and residents of homecare units to collect solid waste and biomedical waste in securely tied separate bags and hand them over to authorised waste collectors.

The CPCB also recommends use of bio-degradable or non-disposable cutlery to minimise waste generation.

“In order to minimise waste generation, as far as possible, non-disposable items must be used for serving food, which are to be handled with appropriate precautions and cleaned and disinfected as per hospital guidelines”, it said. The leftover food and general solid waste should not be sent for disposal to the same incineration facility that is used for treating biomedical waste.

It has also directed that isolation wards, including temporary healthcare facilities like rail coaches, must keep separate colour coded bins to maintain segregation of waste and use a dedicated bin to collect and store COVID-19 waste and keep it separately, use double layered bags for collection of COVID-19 waste and disinfect all bins/containers every day. “Yellow coloured bag should not be used for general solid waste,” it said.

Yellow bags are dedicated for bio-medical waste from COVID-19, as per the guidelines issued time and again.

From COVID-19 isolation wards, used PPEs such as goggles, face-shield, splash- proof apron, plastic coveralls, hazmat suits, nitrile gloves must be collected into a red bag, it said.