MARGAO: In a shocking revelation, tonnes of bio-medical and other waste collected from the COVID patients in home isolation in the State’s commercial capital, has been lying unattended for months at Sonsoddo.
The issue came to light after Herald visited the Sonsoddo dump yard and found waste dumped in the bags which could lead to a major health hazard if the same is not attended to immediately.
It was revealed that the agency appointed by the government has failed to lift the bio-medical waste from Sonsoddo for a long time. The unattended waste has raised many an eyebrow.
Later, Herald found that Margao Municipal Council has been collecting the biomedical and other waste from the COVID patients undergoing home isolation for the last few months. The civic body collects the waste twice a day which is later dumped in an isolated area attached to Sonsoddo yard.
Sources informed that nearly 300-400 kg of waste generated from the COVID patients in home isolation from Margao and Fatorda is collected and dumped at Sonsoddo on a regular basis.
Sanitary Inspector Viraj Arabekar informed Herald that MMC collects the bio-medical and other waste from COVID patients, who are in home isolation.
"MMC has been collecting this waste for the last few months which is later dumped in the corner at Sonsoddo dump yard. Our job is only to collect it. To my knowledge, the concerned agency appointed by the government has lifted the said waste from Sonsoddo only twice and since then, it has been lying there for several days", he said.
Meanwhile, residents apprehend that the biomedical waste could lead to a major health hazard with regards to the public and the workers engaged at Sonsoddo.
A resident said the concerned agency should lift the bio-medical and other waste immediately.
On the condition of anonymity, a worker said, “Nobody enters the isolated area, where the waste is dumped. And I don't remember anyone lifting this waste.”
He expressed fear that the workers engaged at the site could contract the infection.
MMC Chief Officer Agnelo Fernandes said, “This biomedical waste needs to be handled properly. We collect only the biomedical and other waste from COVID patients who are in home isolation. MMC does not deal with the further process of waste collection from COVID patients. The government has appointed an agency especially for COVID-related waste".
He said, “We will find out the prevailing situation with regards to biomedical and other waste collected from COVID patients in home isolation.”
It is pertinent to note that a few months ago a number of COVID positive patients were under home isolation in the Margao municipal jurisdiction. These patients were given special kits, which has now led to the bio-medical waste piling up at Sonsoddo. Besides this, other waste such as tissues, teacups, plates and food too got generated.
According to Health Officer, Urban Health Centre Margao, Dr Anju Kharangate, the number of COVID patients in home isolation has dropped.
"Earlier, we used to supply over 150 kits daily to the COVID positive patients in home isolation. Now, the number has reduced to 10-15", she informed.
The Managing Director of Goa Solid Waste Management Corporation (GSWMC), Levinson Martins, said the corporation has nothing to do with the bio-medical and other waste collected from the COVID patients in home isolation and added that it is MMC’s lookout.