Waste management: We have to be a companion to solution
Habiba AKter Happy || risingbd.com
The coronavirus continues to show its might worldwide. Lockdown is still underway in countries. People continue to maintain social distance to get rid of coronavirus infections. The covid-19 pandemic is one of the greatest concerns of the century in the field of medicine. In an environment-friendly system, waste management is a big challenge for Bangladesh. This challenge is even more worrying during this pandemic. The rate of waste generation is on the rise at this time. As the management of municipal waste is not done in a proper way, it is keeping a negative impact on the environment of the country.
According to a pre-Coronavirus study, about 5,000 tonnes of waste was generated daily in the capital. But since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, this rate has multiplied. At present, nearly 206 tonnes of waste caused by only Covid-19 is being generated every day in the capital Dhaka.
In order to get rid of coronavirus infections, hospitals, other healthcare providing agencies, and many individuals have increased the use of masks, gloves, gowns, and other protective equipment which are turning into waste after use. These wastes are more likely to have coronavirus, increasing health risks. Besides, when the wastes left by a person during his quarantine or isolation get mixed with the daily produced wastes, it causes further concerns in the management of municipal waste.
The genome sequencing of coronavirus has not been revealed yet. Research on the virus is ongoing. However, virologists say that the virus can survive in any object for at least nine days. Coronavirus can also survive in plastics, textiles and other metals or products or even in wood and clothes.
Ours is a densely populated country. The country has a constraint of healthcare services. Municipal wastes are not properly managed here. A horrible situation is being created after the addition of wastes caused by Covid-19 to the municipal wastes, leaving a section of working-class people as well as their family members vulnerable to get infected with the virus.
Covid-19 wastes should be brought under proper management. Otherwise, someone may dump them everywhere, or burn them uncontrollably which would cause a serious risk to public health and the environment. Diseases are mainly spread through waste and contaminated water. On the other hand, coronavirus spreads faster. For example, in areas where the sanitation system is very weak and people are forced to use water from open drains, people in these areas get infected with various diseases quickly.
There is another big challenge that if medical products such as masks and gloves, which are made of plastics and textiles, are dumped into drains or in open places, it will be more dangerous.
We want awareness of all quarters to sidestep the outbreak of coronavirus and other diseases. Government policies and proper implementation of laws are required. The waste of Kovid-19 cannot be mixed with other common wastes in any way. We should be aware that the wastes caused by Covid-19 cannot be mixed with the daily generated wastes.
A person in quarantine or a person infected with coronavirus should not use disposable items such as water bottles, glasses and plates. It should be a wise decision to collect the wastes caused by Covid-19 through medical waste management agencies instead of the authorities of municipal waste management.
A person quarantined at home or the person infected should generate fewer wastes. He should be more careful so that the wastes cannot be dumped in open places. We have to be a companion to the solution, not to contamination. Every element of the environment is closely involved with each other. If one of its elements gets contaminated, the entire environment falls at risk. At one stage, people become infected gradually. If we are sincere more in the waste management, we will definitely be able to keep our surroundings habitable for us.
The writer is a student of the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering at Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University (JKKNIU).