TSPCB fails to create awareness among people on proper disposal of used PPEs, masks and gloves

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The Telangana Pollution Control Board (TSPCB) has completely failed to create awareness among the people about the proper disposal of used personal protective equipments (PPEs), masks and gloves, as many places across Hyderabad city are seen littered with general garbage.

Except those people such as COVID-19 patients in hospitals and healthcare staff who are treating the coronavirus infected patients, who usually use these healthcare protective items in a healthcare set-up, many who are using these protective gears outside the hospital set-up are not following proper disposal guidelines and littering them in the open general bins.

This clearly tells that the TSPCB has limited its preview of providing awareness on proper disposal norms to only healthcare institutions, healthcare staff and related research and manufacturing organizations and is least bothered to initiate steps so as to make sure the general public also strictly follows the disposal norms while disposing of the used PPEs, masks and gloves.

As per the Central PCB norms, usually the hospitals and medical institutions must dispose of the PPE waste in yellow polythene bags which is then given to biomedical waste management service providers. However, the same method is not being followed by general public and people who are kept in home quarantine using these protective materials and they are being strewn in garbage dumps unmindful of causing further infection to others.

“The PCB has laid down clear guidelines for healthcare institutions, medical facilities, isolation centers, quarantine centers and research institutions working on corona virus to strictly follow the disposal norms of all related biomedical wastes, however these rules are not mandatory for general public using these protective kits, but still we expect people to follow the set guidelines and behave responsible while littering such hazardous and highly infectious items in a proper manner as stipulated,” informed Neetu Kumari Prasad, member secretary, TSPCB.

But environmentalists are of the opinion that the PCB must have come out proactively to provide more awareness on proper disposal of the corona protective kits in a systematic way. They have suggested that the PCB along with the municipal authorities should have worked to set up separate bins in streets and colonies, so that general people using these healthcare protective kits could have an easy access for the disposal.

“Except in one or two highly developed places the PCB and municipal authorities have set up yellow bins for the general public to dispose off the protective kits, but they have miserably failed to set up the same disposal bins in highly risky areas of old city and elsewhere in Hyderabad. We are demanding the PCB authorities and the municipal administration to come out with pro-active measures so that more yellow bins are set up in multiple places so that people can get an easy access to dispose the protective kits in a proper manner,” said A Rajeshwary, member of Sahayog, an NGO working for protection of environment in Hyderabad.

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