Are PPE Kits and other biological Waste, prone to Earth’s disaster?

With each Covid case, the plastic and biomedical waste situation worsen the situation of the Environment.

On World Environment Day, according to India's Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), due to diagnostic activities and treatment of Covid-19 patients around 146 tonnes of bio-medical waste every day. India produced 45,308 tonnes of Covid-19 biological waste between June 2020 and May 10, 2021. This is on top of the 615 tonnes of biomedical waste created per day before Covid-19, the pollution control board's decision. 

A  lot of biomedical waste like face masks, PPE kits, needles, syringes with fixed needles also contribute a significant problem to Environment. Founder and Director of the environmental non-profit Toxics Ravi Agarwal also quoted that "There has been a general increase and since it is a crisis, we are not thinking of plastic but general prevention. The focus is no longer plastic, so that is a problem”. 

With each Covid case, the plastic and biomedical waste situation worsen, as millions of people use and discard face shields, surgical masks, gloves, and personal protective equipment (PPE) suits, which were previously only used in hospitals but are now an essential part of everyday life.

The world involved in dealing with this is raising such a high mountain of dangerous Bio-Medical Waste (BMW) that it will be difficult to overcome it soon. This can be understood with the example of a PPE kit which includes a bodysuit lower, head cover, boot cover, gloves and goggles made of polypropylene.  

On the other hand, the N-95 mask is different. Now if a PPE is thrown after use, it will take 500 years to decompose. At the same time, if it is burnt in a closed furnace i.e. incinerated, then 3816 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) will be released from it. It would take a single tree 182 days to absorb this much CO2. Similarly, millions of medical and N-95 masks being made every day and millions of litres of sanitiser-disinfectant being sprayed in the environment every day have also posed a big threat to the environment. 



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