GUWAHATI, May 19 - Reports of discovery of some personal protection equipment (PPE) in dustbins, some kids playing with a PPE and an insane person roaming about wearing some plastic coveralls in some parts of the city have created much panic among many Guwahatians, who are confronting reports of fresh cases of coronavirus infection in their city every passing day.
When contacted, scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that the set norms for disposal of used PPEs should be followed by each of the healthcare institutes. The used PPEs, which include the plastic coverall, face shield, gloves, etc, are biomedical wastes and they are to be appropriately incinerated, they said.
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines (Revision-2) for handling, treatment and disposal of waste generated during treatment/diagnosis/quarantine of COVID-19 patients call for separate colour coded bins/bags/containers in wards and maintenance of proper segregation of waste as per the Biomedical Waste Management (BMWM) Rules, 2016.
The guidelines say that PPEs such as goggles, face-shield, splash proof apron, plastic coverall, hazmet suit, nitrile gloves should be put in red bags and used masks (including triple layer mask, N95 mask, etc), head cover/cap, shoe-cover, disposable linen gown, non-plastic or semi-plastic coverall should be collected in yellow bags.
The CPCB guidelines further state that as a precaution, double-layered bags (using two bags) should be used for collection of waste from COVID-19 isolation wards so as to ensure adequate strength and �no leaks�. For storing these biomedical wastes a dedicated collection bin labelled as �COVID-19� should be used and it should be kept separately in a temporary storage room prior to being handed over to authorised staff of the common biomedical waste treatment facility (CBWTF). Biomedical waste collected from such isolation wards can also be lifted directly from the ward into the CBWTF collection van.
In addition to mandatory labelling, bags/containers used for collection of biomedical waste from COVID-19 wards should be labelled as �COVID-19 Waste.� This marking would enable CBWTFs to identify the waste easily for priority treatment and disposal immediately upon receipt, said the CPCB in its revised guidelines-2.
The CPCB has also laid down norms for sample collection centres and laboratories for COVID-19 suspected patients, fixed responsibilities for persons operating quarantine camps/homes or homecare facilities, besides the norms for the state pollution control boards and CBWTFs.
Meanwhile, noted social worker and former MLA Ajoy Dutta said that the incidents mentioned above are indicative of the government�s withdrawing itself from the responsibilities to protect the people from the dreaded coronavirus. There should be a thorough investigation as to how these PPEs could find their way to the dustbins, he added.
Reacting to the incident of dumping of some PPEs in the city dustbins, leading environment activist Rohit Choudhury said these PPEs may result in community spread of the coronavirus.