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HC asks again for disposal of medical waste that was ignored earlier

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21st-Jul-2020       
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THE High Court on Sunday asked the Environment and Forest Ministry what steps the government had taken to collect, treat and dispose of medical waste. A virtual Bench issued the directive while hearing a public interest litigation writ petition filed by some environmental activists. The petitioners sought a directive for implementing the Medical Waste Rules 2008 in the wake of the countrywide littering of used Covid-19 treatment equipment and protective materials such as masks, gloves and personal protective gears and empty containers of hand sanitizer and liquid soap. Since Bangladesh is in sorry state of waste management, the infectious waste should be dealt with utmost care and safety, otherwise fresh outbreak is unavoidable.
The Medical Waste (Management and Processing) Rules 2008 require the creation of the authority at each divisional headquarters comprising the health services' divisional director, representative of the divisional commissioner and a DoE representative nominated by the Director General of the Health Services. The HC in 2018 issued a rule to create a Medical Waste Management Authority at each Divisional Headquarters within three months. But the government created the authority in only three Divisional Headquarters due to sheer negligence.
A study revealed that Bangladesh generated 14,165 tonnes of single-use plastic waste during March 26-April 25 in the first months of outbreak. It found that more than 50 per cent of 163 million people started using single-use synthetic surgical masks, 30 per cent gloves, and 30 per cent hand sanitiser, while almost all medical staffs use the single use plastic gears. The PPE used by Medical Staff is highly contagious and should be burnt properly, otherwise, will create a biohazard as well as have a negative impact on the environment.
In China's Wuhan, a new medical waste plant and 46 mobile treatment facilities were constructed to deal with the excess. In Bangladesh, PPE and other medical waste have to be disposed to mitigate the risk of infection. The city authorities and the government must prioritise the issue before any fresh outbreak.

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