Hospitals are having to shell out large sums of money for disposing bio-waste amid the coronavirus pandemic. The cost of biomedical waste disposal — which was Rs 24 per kg before the lockdown — has doubled, rising to Rs 50 for Covid-19 bio-waste ever since the lockdown came into effect, The Times of India reported.
Hospitals saw some respite after June 3, when the prices fell to Rs 45 per kg. Experts say the spike in prices is because of the high transmission risk of Covid-19.
In a double whammy, hospitals are now also paying a supplementary charge at an average of Rs 500 per trip for the collection of Covid-19 bio-waste. The lockdown period saw this charge rise to Rs 750.
An official of the Apollo Hospital told ToI that the per day Covid-19 bio-waste waste generated ranges between 150-180 kg and hospitals have to spend Rs 9,000 per day just for getting rid of the waste. The official added that it is imperative that the disposal is done on time as the bio-waste cannot be allowed to pile up in times like these.
Meanwhile, according to a representative of the city's HCG Hospital, the per day bio-waste generated lies between 100-120 kg.
"Along with PPEs and regular sanitisation, disposal of BW is a major overhead for any hospital having Covid-19 patients," the official was quoted as saying.
The representative added that the high contagiousness has resulted in the 100% surge in costs.
Experts with a vast experience in the field of medical waste disposal also attribute the increase in the costs to the contagiousness of the infection, resulting in the bio-waste needing 100% incineration.
An owner of a leading Ahmedabad-based bio-waste processing company that is handling waste of 10 hospitals, told ToI that the normal bio-waste is primarily dry and consists of 60% component requiring incineration while the remaining waste can be processed by employing other methods.
"But Covid-19 waste needs 100% incineration that includes leftovers. It requires frequent cleaning of incinerators," he added.
As per Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) officials the state, so far, has the maximum number of BW disposal facilities, with Ahmedabad topping the list.