Rising Biomedical waste amid pandemic

  Jul 27, 2020

Rising Biomedical waste amid pandemic

In the wake of global pandemic COVID-19, there is steep surge in bio-medical waste, journal “Guardian” recently reported that there are possibly more masks than Jellyfish in world. 

Q. What is bio-medical waste?

A. Any waste which is generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunisation of human beings or animals or in research activities pertaining thereto or in the production or testing of biologicals. 

Q. What does it consists of?

Q. What all are the issues associated with it?

A. Proper disposal of biomedical waste is of paramount importance because of its infectious and hazardous characteristics. Improper disposal can result in the following:

Q. What is quantum of waste that is generated?

 A. By a hospital the quantum of waste that is generated in India is estimated to be 1-2 kg per bed per day in a hospital and 600 gm per day per bed in a general practitioner's clinic. As per government data, 85% of the hospital waste is non-hazardous, 15% is infectious/hazardous.

e.g. a 100 bedded hospital will generate 100 - 200 kgs of hospital waste/day.

Total bio-medical waste generation in the country is 484 tonnes Per Day (TPD) from 1,68,869 healthcare facilities (HCF), out of which 447 TPD is treated. 

Q. What are the provisions of Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016?

 A. The major salient features of BMW Management Rules, 2016 include the following:-

Q. What are the major changes under new regime? 

A. Under the new regime, the coverage has increased and also provides for pre-treatment of lab waste, blood samples, etc. It mandates bar code system for proper control. It has simplified categorisation and authorisation. Thus, it will make a big difference to clean India Mission. 

Q. What is possible way forward?


  1. Scientific disposal of Biomedical Waste through segregation, collection and treatment in an environmentally sound manner minimises the adverse impact on health workers and on the environment. 
  2. The hospitals are required to put in place the mechanisms for effective disposal either directly or through common biomedical waste treatment and disposal facilities.  
  3. The hospitals servicing 1000 patients or more per month are required to obtain authorisation and segregate biomedical waste in to 10 categories, pack five colour backs for disposal.
  4.  The segregation of waste at source is the key step and reduction, reuse and recycling should be considered in proper perspectives.

In the wake of this global pandemic the challenge before us is surmountable and so is the challenge of biomedical waste, proper guidelines should be followed and technology should be harnessed without compromising environmental and health concerns.