Maharashtra generates interest in Kerala's latest scientific device for mask disposal

ST Staff
Sunday, 28 June 2020

In Kerala, various government workplaces have already started using the device and a move similar to this is being reviewed by the state.

Masks have been one of the constant companions of people since the coronavirus pandemic hit the nation and medical experts recommended compulsory usage of the facial accessory to ensure safety from the infection spread. Since then people have been wearing masks on a regular basis, and there has been an extreme rise in it's usage. Amid this, Maharashtra has taken interest in the automatic machine developed in Kerala for disposing of used masks scientifically.

R Khobargade, principal secretary of Kerala was quoted by TOI as he spoke about the latest technology which is an effective and modern way to dispose of used masks and they have kept all the guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) while planning the process and putting it together. The bin will also be set up depending on the demand from any state in the country. "We are using it and we are in talks with various states. The bin can be used especially at public places," Khobargade said.

Shree Chitra testing agency has approved the disposal system called BIN-19 according to the ICMR guidelines. In Kerala, various government workplaces have already started using the device and a move similar to this is being reviewed by the state.

Since the Unlock phase and lockdown relaxation measures, there were more staff in offices and thereby this latest set up can be used in all government offices, said a state health department official. According to the health authorities, there is a lot of medical waste generated from the masks used in hospital or quarantine centres and these kinds of waste must be treated with care. According to medical protocols, these medical wastes have been instructed to be burnt or carbonized at separate facilities.

Hand wash facilities have been installed in various parts of the city where used masks are gathered, and are expected to be kept apart with assistance from Indian Medical Association (IMA). The wastes are expected to be segregated according to the rules and guidelines stated by the Biomedical Waste Management Act 2016. Guidelines have been shared by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) officials with the various civic bodies and a policy institute has been deployed on making the public aware and responsible. An MPCB official was quoted by TOI as saying, "Masks used in the medical field must be disposed of properly. This initiative can be explored."

According to the VST Mobility solutions officials, they would first approach Maharashtra among other states since it has recorded the highest number of positive cases and fatality rates.

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