On average, 206.218 tonnes of Covid-19 wastes are produced per day in Dhaka city alone, according to a survey.
This huge amount of indigestible and contagious waste that is being generated from households and other sources, including public and private hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres, and offices and courts, are seriously harmful to public health, it said.
The findings were revealed at a programme titled "Publication of the outcomes of the Covid-19 Waste Management Survey and relevant statements of CSOs" at the Sagor-Runi Auditorium of Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU) on Sunday.
The Network on Climate Change in Bangladesh (NCC,B) in collaboration with the Environment Defence Network (EDN) and Unnayan Dhara Trust (UDT) arranged the press conference to highlight the study results, reads a press release.
The survey found that there is a lack of awareness among the general public about the management of these infectious, contagious and health- and environmentally-threatening coronavirus wastes. Even those who are collecting these wastes are not aware of the potential consequences.
Mahbubur Rahman Apu, lead investigator of the study, said 55.6 percent of the participants answered that they have not received any instructions or guidance from the Health Service Division about the management of the wastes generated from personal protective equipment. The remaining 44.4 percent have gained a few sorts of instructions.
While sharing the findings of the study, Mahbubur, also the research and advocacy officer of NCC,B, said 49.1 percent of participants store coronavirus wastes in the same container along with other household wastes, and another 49.1 percent put those in separate baskets.
River and Delta Research Centre (RDRC) Chairman Mohammad Azaz said, "The institutions responsible for our Covid-19 waste management have failed miserably in managing the contagious wastes."
''Coronavirus and other contagious wastes are harmful to our rivers, water and soil in the same way it is a threat to human health.''
City Editor of GTV Raju Ahmed said anomalies of the city corporations in Covid-19 waste management and irregularities in the health sector have created a dire situation.
The organisations raised a five-point demand in formulating and implementing policies for proper management of Covid-19 and other infectious wastes.
The demands include a massive campaign to create awareness about the management of Covid-19 and other infectious wastes; formulation of comprehensive policies on waste management related to infectious and contagious diseases; enactment of anti-waste dumping laws to prevent irregular dumping of wastes in rivers, reservoirs and drains; formation of a "contagious waste management monitoring cell" under the leadership of the Department of Environment; and amendment of the "Medical Waste (Management and Processing) Rules 2008" and its proper implementation.
UDT Member Secretary Aminur Rasul Babul presided over the press conference.