Covid wastes pose grave perils

Introduce appropriate technology to treat infectious trashes

It is alarming to note that 90 percent of Covid-19  medical wastes including masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are not being disposed in proper way in Bangladesh.

Most of the hospitals in the country are giving treatment to coronavirus infected patients without following proper rules and regulations concerning dumping of the infectious medical waste. Bangladesh was already struggling with poor medical waste management before the coronavirus pandemic. Now, it is at risk of being hit hard by a sudden onslaught of single-use medical plastic.

Covid-19 is producing large quantities of hazardous medical waste, with personal protective equipment (PPE) used in hospitals being the main component.

Reportedly, around 250 tonnes of medical waste was generated by hospitals last month, and sanitation workers often lack the protective gear to keep them safe from Covid-19.

More resources and public awareness are

 urgently needed to ensurediscarded

medical waste does not make the 

coronavirus pandemic worse

World Health Organization (WHO) standard PPE are one time use—every set of PPE becomes hazardous medical waste after being used for a single time. Besides PPE, there are other types of hazardous waste like facial tissue, gauze pieces, masks, oxygen masks, saline bags, disposable syringes, needles etc that are being used to treat patients.

Experts are of the opinion that Covid-19 medical wastes, if not properly disposed, will fuel the transmission of the deadly disease during the approaching winter. Corona waste is 100 times more contagious than any other medical waste. Hence, it is very risky to leave these wastes here and there or not to treat them properly. Considering the situation, medical waste must be burned under controlled environment at more than 700 degree Celsius, and the gas should be released into the environment after filtering harmful particles.

But since we have not been able to develop our medical waste management systems up to this point, we have to treat our medical wastes very carefully with whatever limited resources we have.  No doubt more resources and public awareness are urgently needed to ensure discarded medical waste does not make the coronavirus pandemic worse.