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Chennai: As hospitalizations go up so does Covid waste | Chennai News – Times of India

Chennai: As hospitalizations go up so does Covid waste | Chennai News - Times of India

CHENNAI: Biomedical waste treatment facilities in the city could soon be handling double the quantity handled in the pre-Covid period.
Government Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital dean Dr P Vasanthamani said from an average 250kg a month in pre-Covid times, the hospital disposed 3,500kg to 4,000kg waste every month between July and October 2020. Of the 450 Covid beds, 320 are now occupied. “From 905kg in February 2021, it rose to 1,617kg last month.
But we streamlined the collection and disposal during last year’s peak. We have built a shed to segregate and keep Covid waste separate,” she said. Initially, between May and July 2020, the hospital generated nearly 26,000kg waste as leftover food and packaging material from the bedside were also treated as biomedical waste. “Then, food waste was disposed as general waste after guidelines were revised.”
Around 112 private hospitals in Chennai, of the 387 in the state, are treating Covid patients. More than 55 city hospitals have less than five beds vacant or are full.
In August 2020, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board officials say 10 of the 12 common biomedical waste treatment facilities (CBMWTFs) incinerated an average 27 tonnes a day of Covid waste. Last month, the quantity dropped to five tonnes a day, but the daily average from April 1 to 12 was seven tonnes.
The 12 CBMWTFs have the capacity to handle 55.167 tonnes a day An official from Tamil Nadu Waste Management Ltd, one of the two companies handling Covid waste from hospitals in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, said biomedical waste collected from around 1,000 hospitals rose from 3,000kg a day to 5,000kg a day during the first wave in 2020 and the firm struggled as drivers and pickers refused to work. “We are expecting the load to go up in the coming days. But unlike last year, we have manpower, all safety gear and sanitized vehicles,” he said.
Harish Manian, CEO of MGM Healthcare, said they brought down the weight of the Covid waste by allowing staff in low risk zones like visitor screening areas to wear lightweight safety gear compared to high risk zones like ICUs. From an average 200kg of just Covid waste a day, the total waste now is around 300kg.
TNPCB chairman A V Venkatachalam said the waste increased manifold last year. “But we diligently reviewed the situation and found installed capacity of our CBMWTFs is phenomenally high. That’s why we did not face any hardship in the management of biomedical waste.”


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