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Stop! Are You Flushing Down COVID-19 Waste?

New Delhi: Pollution caused by COVID-19 waste such as gloves, medicines, and masks will be one of the biggest challenges in the coming years.

Flushing down such waste, especially fibrous face masks, will not only add to the volume of solid matter in the sewerage but also choke the local wastewater and sanitation network. Some studies have also shown the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and the source is unknown. This could come from the mucus, cough or sneezing, stool or urine of COVID-19 patients, DownToEarth reported (DTE).

Not only off-site sanitation systems such as sewer networks but on-site sanitation systems such as soak pit latrines, twin pit latrines and septic tanks may also be affected. A  Japanese study done by the Toyama Prefectural University, Kanazawa University and Kyoto University confirmed the presence of the virus in the wastewater plants of four treatment plants in Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures in western Japan, the report added.

The researchers analysed 27 samples of wastewater out of which seven were found with the virus.  Wastewater testing could be helpful in estimating the number of infected people in a region without testing every individual, the researchers were quoted as saying

Here’s what the report said:

The detection frequency remained high even after the increase in the number of cases stopped, presumably due to shedding from discharged or undiagnosed individuals.

There is a need for safe collection, transportation, disposal, and treatment of COVID-19 solid waste along with municipal solid waste in any city or village in order to prevent it from being flushed down and collapsing sewer drainage.

Moreover, detection of the presence of SARS-COV-2 in wastewater and sewerage in India is the need of the hour.

 

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