The National Green Tribunal
(NGT) on Tuesday asked the West Bengal government and the state pollution control board to separately file reports on the implementation of the central board's guidelines for disposal of COVID-19 biomedical waste.
Taking up a petition of environmentalist Subhas Dutta, an NGT bench of Justice S P Wangdi and expert member Siddhanta Das also asked the state chief secretary and the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) to submit to it specific information on how COVID-19 waste is being disposed of.
They were asked to submit the reports by July 8.
Dutta on May 14 filed a petition before the NGTs Kolkata bench alleging non-compliance of guidelines prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on handling, treatment, and disposal of biomedical waste of COVID19 patients with specific reference to that coming out of residences of people who are on home quarantine.
COVID-19 biomedical waste includes used masks, tissue paper, cotton, gloves or any other material that may carry the virus.
"It is contended that the state government has failed to implement the guidelines causing serious health hazard to the general public," the NGT order said.
The CPCB guidelines include creating separate bins for disposal of coronavirus and non-COVID-19 biomedical waste, create separate dumping zones for different types of biomedical waste, separate collection of waste from covid hospitals, isolation wards and quarantine centres.
Dutta had submitted that there is a spurt in coronavirus cases in West Bengal, particularly Kolkata and Howrah, as bio-medical waste is not collected and disposed of as per the CPCB guidelines issued on March 25.
"Wastes generated from the Home Quarantine sources are not collected and disposed of as per the guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board. It is stated by experts that if bio-medical waste is mixed with the normal domestic wastes, the risk increases many times," his petition said.
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