The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has made it mandatory to put "COVID-19 Waste" label on all biomedical waste generated during the treatment of the infection.
These directions have been framed as per the existing practices under Bio-Medical Waste (BMW) management rules, 2016 and hence, the Centre has considered it as an ''essential service'' as part of health infrastructure.
The strict instruction on waste management of COVID-19 has been drafted by the concerned officials from the health ministry, World Health Organisation (WHO), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and other concerned agencies.
According to the guidelines, this marking would enable Common Biomedical Waste Treatment and Disposal Facilities (CBWTFs) to identify the waste easily for priority treatment and disposal immediately upon the receipt.
All the healthcare workers at isolation wards, quarantine centres, sample collection centres, laboratories, Urban Local Bodies ( ULBs), common biomedical waste treatment and disposal facilities have to follow these directions for the management of COVID-19 waste generated during diagnostics and treatment of COVID-19 suspected or confirmed patients.
The bio-medical waste from COVID-19 should be considered as ''domestic hazardous waste''.
Healthcare workers should wear adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including three-layer masks, splash-proof aprons or gowns, nitrile gloves, gumboots and safety goggles.
The workers should be properly trained for sanitisation, about the collection of biomedical waste, precautionary measures to handle the bio-medical waste.
"Use dedicated trolleys and collection bins in COVID-19 isolation wards. A label of ''COVID-19 Waste'' has to be pasted on these items also. The (inner and outer) surface of containers/bins/trolleys used for storage of COVID-19 waste should be disinfected with 1% sodium hypochlorite solution daily. COVID-19 waste should be disposed-off immediately upon receipt at a facility," said the health ministry official.
"Also there has to be a dedicated vehicle to collect COVID-19 ward waste. The vehicle should be sanitised with sodium hypochlorite after every trip. A separate and properly trained staff should be engaged in doorstep waste collection at quarantine homes to collect biomedical waste," he added.
India generates about 550.9 tonnes of biomedical waste every day as per the data published in--Unearthing the Growth Curve and Necessities of Bio-Medical Waste Management in India, 2018.
The total number of coronavirus cases in India on Friday climbed to 2301, including 156 cured and discharged and 56 deaths, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
At present, there are 2088 COVID-19 active cases in the country.