With covid-19 pandemic still showing an upwards trend in India and all over the world with no stoppage sign in near future, the time is ripe for some major disruptions in our waste management strategies to minimize risk for front line sanitation workers. We have seen that covid-19 pandemic has hit our front line staff hard as well. It was never an easy task to be employed as a sanitation worker but covid-19 has increased the risk manifold making it a mandatory task to form an alternative which will be feasible to employ in the near future.
Covid-19 pandemic has generated vast amount of bio medical waste as well as needles, masks and sanitizers which comes under the category of domestic hazardous waste. Plastic was already the component in our municipal waste but any headway we made towards recycling it has gone back to ground zero. Why is that? It is because masks and PPEs are single use plastics which for the benefit of human health are advised to not be used again even after complete disinfection. This virus is resilient so we may not know if it has survived disinfection or not.
The main strategy right now would be to use the industry 4.0 technique and automate the waste management process as much it can be possible to minimize human contact and make it feasible to be used in large scale as it is being employed in the automation sector. That is the way forward to go and the infrastructure needed to support it as well has to be developed. This might seem like a humongous task but it is the only way we can minimize the risk to human life while at the same time safeguarding the environment.