Tons of used hand gloves and masks are being recycled in many cities in Maharashtra, in gross violation of disposal rules set up by the CPCB
Ashok Kumar | Clarion India
MUMBAI – While the rules are very clear about disposing personal protective equipment (PPEs) including hand gloves and masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19, there is blatant violation happening in cities including Mumbai and Pune.
Many people also have the habit of disposing these gloves and masks arbitrarily, even dumping them on roads or in open places. Healthcare activists warn that such arbitrary moves will worsen the Covid-19 situation, as many tend to pick up the stuff and reuse them.
But what has shocked the healthcare sector is the seizure of four tons of discarded hand gloves from a small unit in Navi Mumbai, where workers including six women were found segregating hand gloves (including some with dried blood stains), which had earlier been discarded as bio-medical waste by doctors. The used gloves were being washed by workers before being packaged and sold to buyers in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur and also other cities elsewhere in the country.
The Navi Mumbai police recovered 4 lakh hand gloves, washing and blower machines and other equipment from the workshop. Godowns were also raided in Bhiwandi and Aurangabad where several tons of used hand gloves were being processed for reuse, says a Navi Mumbai police spokesman.
But even more shocking was a recent case in Pune where a bag carrying used Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits including gloves and syringes disposed at a hospital fell from a garbage truck of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. The deadly waste spilt out of the bag and spread across the road. Some vigilant citizens followed the truck and found that instead of heading for a site with an incinerator, they were dumping it in a regular garbage dumping yard.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had last month released new guidelines relating to the disposal of Covid-19 waste generated by households. Masks and gloves used by non-Covid-19 patients are supposed to be kept in paper bags for at least 72 hours before being discarded, it had said. “Discarded PPEs from the general public at commercial establishments, shopping malls, institutions, and offices should be stored in a separate bin for 3 days, thereafter, disposed of as dry general solid waste after cutting or shredding. Waste masks and gloves in general households should be kept in paper bags for a minimum of 72 hours prior to disposal of the same as dry general solid waste after cutting the same to prevent reuse.”
But rules relating to the disposal of gloves, masks and even syringes are being violated blatantly by many in major cities in Maharashtra, which is likely to worsen the Covid-19 scenario over the coming days, warn healthcare activists.