By Bashir Bello
Kano State Coordinator, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, Lukman Lawal said the agency has developed a guideline to ensure proper and effective disposal of infectious and medical waste generated from the COVID-19 treatment to avoid contamination and further spread of the highly contagious disease.
Lawal who made this known while speaking with newsmen in Kano said it has carried out sensitization to the relevant stakeholders to demonstrate how the wastes should be properly disposed of.
The Coordinator said the agency at the wake of the pandemic had directed its offices to meet and sensitize the relevant stakeholders on infectious waste disposal in view of one of the World Health Organization’s Technical Briefs on Covid-19 where it stated that there will be a surge in the amount of healthcare waste as the pandemic spreads and that containment and disposal of same may pose challenges until the pandemic is over.
“The agency in line with international best practice developed a guideline that medical waste generated from the treatment of highly contagious diseases such as Covid-19 can only be managed in accordance with routine procedures since no new regulations have been made to address it.
“Consequently, we recommended that the following are required to be implemented by the health care facilities generating infectious wastes to ensure environmentally sound management.
“Health care facilities treating Covid-19 patients should provide sealed receptacles for the waste materials, contaminated beddings should undergo steam sterilization and patient care wastes should be incinerated and disposable Personal Protective Equipment, PPEs used by healthcare workers involved with Covid-19 patients should be incinerated.
“Only properly kitted workers are allowed to evacuate or transport healthcare waste from isolation centres, tertiary health care facilities are obliged to receive the infectious waste for incineration and isolation centres currently without healthcare waste incinerators should liaise with the nearest tertiary healthcare facilities to incinerate their waste,” Lawal stated.
The Coordinator also maintained that with it presence in the state, about 50 to 60 per cent of the wet industries now have Effluent Treatment Plant, ETF meant to treat any processed water generated from their production before discharge into the environment.
“The Office in Kano was established in 2010, before our coming some of the wet industries (those that use water) don’t have ETP but our presence has been helpful, about 50 to 60 per cent of the industries now have it. But having it (ETP) is different from using it effectively but we have a mechanism in place to check it and we charged them to be submitting the ETP reports,” Lawal however stated.