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Home >News >India >World Environment Day: Covid surge intensifies India's plastic, biomedical waste problem

While India was busy dealing with an unprecedented healthcare crisis, a hazardous mess was piling in its backyard.

The country produced biomedical waste to the tune of 2,03,000 kg per day as the coronavirus infection reached its peak and swamped hospitals, a report has revealed.

The report titled 'State of India's Environment 2021', released by the Centre for Science and Environment, said the biomedical waste generated daily in May this year was roughly 33% of India's non-Covid biomedical waste.

Further, the biomedical waste generated in May was 46% more than that in April when it had reached 1.39 lakh kg per day. In March, the daily figure was 75,000 kg.

This is in line with data by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that said India 45,308 tonnes of Covid-19 biomedical waste between June 2020 and 10 May 2021.

The report found that Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka contributed 50% of biomedical waste generated in May. These states were hit particularly hard by the second wave of the Covid-19.

Drawing a comparison, the report informed that the biomedical waste generated per day in 2017 was 5.59 lakh kg and the quantity of waste treated daily was 519 kg. In 2019, 6.19 lakh kg biomedical waste was generated and 545 kg was treated daily.

India still disposes of 12% of its hospital waste without any treatment with Bihar and Karnataka faring the worst, it said.

"In 2019, India treated 88% of its biomedical waste, down from 92.8% in 2017," the report authored by Kiran Pandey and Rajit Sengupta, said.

Biomedical waste includes cultures, stocks of infectious agents, associated biologicals, human blood and blood products, contaminated sharps, amputated body parts and isolation waste.

Although it is a small proportion of the total waste generated (around 1%), it needs special handling due to its highly toxic contents that can pose a severe threat to human health, the report said.

With inputs from agencies.

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