Guidelines for disposal of COVID biomedical waste
The guidelines from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) include use of separate colour-coded bins or containers in wards, proper segregation of waste as per the Bio Medical Waste Management rules and CPCB guidelines, and use of double-layered bags for collection of waste from COVID-19 isolation wards, among others.
It specifically mentions disposal protocol for each of the PPE components into the different colour-coded bins. Bags, containers and trolleys used for collecting biomedical waste from COVID-19 wards should be labelled for identification and priority accorded in treatment and disposal. The inner and outer surfaces of the bins and containers should be disinfected daily.
Separate record of waste generated from isolation wards should be maintained by healthcare establishments and common biomedical waste management facilities (CBMWTF). Opening or operation of COVID-19 ward and COVID ICU ward should be reported to the PCB and respective CBMWTFs.
Dedicated sanitation workers should be deputed for biomedical waste, and the waste from quarantine centres should be collected separately in suitable containers provided by the respective urban local bodies (ULBs).
The operator of the CBMWTF should be alerted to collect the biomedical waste as soon as it gets generated. COVID-19 waste should not be stored for more than 24 hours.
Adequate PPEs, including three-layered masks, splash proof aprons or gowns, and nitrite gloves, gum boots and safety goggles should be made available for workers at the CBMWTFs. Dedicated vehicle with separate label should be used to collect COVID-19 ward waste and they should be sanitised after every trip.
Waste generated from suspected patients at home should be collected in separate bags and handed over to authorised waste collectors engaged by local bodies, or the ULB should engage CBMWTFs to pick up such waste either directly or from identified collection points. Used masks and gloves from home quarantine or other households should be kept in paper bag for a minimum of 72 hours prior for disposal as general waste. It is advisable to cut masks to prevent reuse.
Healthcare facilities and agencies operating the sewage treatment plants should continue to ensure disinfection of treated waste water to inactivate coronaviruses.
Operators of Effluent Treatment Plants and STPs attached with discharge from healthcare facilities and isolation wards should adopt standard operational practices, basic hygiene precautions, and PPEs prescribed. Utilisation of treated waste water in utilities in healthcare facilities may be avoided.