The National Green Tribunal on Friday directed a team of Centre and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), to supervise scientific disposal of COVID-19 waste as per the guidelines.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the Chief Secretary of States and Union Territories to closely monitor the scientific storage, transport, handling, management and disposal of COVID-19 waste as its improper handling of waste can be hazardous to the environment and to public health.
"At the national level, let a high-level task team of Ministry of Environment, Health, Urban Development, Jal Shakti, Defence, and CPCB supervise the handling and scientific disposal of COVID-19 waste in accordance with the guidelines," the bench said.
NGT also directed the state departments of environment and pollution control boards to ensure that Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016 are followed during disposal.
“There is a need to incorporate best practices in the light of further experience and new thoughts emerging from time to time, apart from continued supervision and monitoring, compiling data in an online format, use of electronic/digital manifest system to track and log COVID-19 waste," it said.
The tribunal also highlighted the need for creating awareness about the precautions and steps to be taken by those handling waste, the sanitary workers as well as citizens.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued guidelines for the management of waste generated during the diagnostics and treatment of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients.
While state governments and Centre have initiated various steps to deal with the pandemic, the apex pollution monitoring body said specific guidelines are required to be followed by all, including isolation wards, quarantine centers, sample collection centers, laboratories, ULBs and common biomedical waste treatment and disposal facilities, in addition to existing practices under BMW Management Rules, 2016.
The CPCB has also written to the state pollution control boards and pollution control committees to consider the operation of common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facility and its associated staff as an essential service part of health infrastructure.