Covid-19: Amid crisis in waste management!

A waste dumping station in station in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Bengal Discover

At least 14,500 tons of rubbish such as gloves, masks, sanitizer container and polythene have been collected last month across Bangladesh, in a recent research said Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO).

The organization held online conference between March 26 to April 25 where about 570 people from different professions have participated.

ESDO further informed that massive amount of trash was collected from used hand gloves which is about 5,877 tons. Among them 3,039 tons were plastic gloves and other 2,838 tons are all surgical gloves.

Dumped polythene and shopping bags were total of 5,796 tons. 1,592 tons of surgical masks and 900 tons of hand sanitizer containers added more waste.

Dhaka has generated 3,076 tons of debris. This includes, 447 tons of surgical masks, 443 tons of polythene and shopping bags, 270 tons of sanitizer containers.

In this horrendous situation, there is a decrease of refuse collectors by 50 percent due to the pandemic. The waste collectors are at high risk of getting infected by covid-19 as most of them work without proper protection.

ESDO general secretary Dr shahriar Hossain said, “while researching, we had talked to some waste collectors who stopped working after being severely ill. Some of them had fever and cough but didn’t get the chance to test covid-19.”

Department of Environment (DOE) of Bangladesh is facing challenges everyday to properly handle the medical waste during coronavirus pandemic. In past, there were already struggles with waste governance ,now it has became more pathetic. They’re thinking to burn rubbish which are harmless to the atmosphere.

PRISM is the only organization in the country which is helping the Dhaka City to manage the trash. The government wants more organizations to come forward and help the country during this hard time.

In India, sanitation workers and rag picker are more vulnerable to coronavirus as they’re dealing with medical waste. The Medical College in Pune said, we need to decontaminate the waste with sanitizer or put them in bags before throwing away.

In Nepal many companies which deals with waste have stopped communicating with the municipal government and avoiding their responsibilities, said Kathmandu metropolitan city’s acting Secretary Rajeshwar Gyawali