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Risk of COVID-19 for Household Waste Workers in Nepal

  • Nepal Administrative Staff College


The coronavirus is pandemic in the world and Nepal has also been in complete lock down condition from more than 1 month. The majority of waste workers in Nepal represent the poor economic individuals or the migrant employee from different parts of India. This study involved the comparative analysis of Solid Waste Management Act, Guidelines on Nepal with field observation of three different areas of Kathmandu Valley. The act, rules, guidelines has been analysed as secondary data sources and compared with field observation. The study identified the high risk of exposure of waste workers and waste picker towards coronavirus. The analysis further suspected the retransmission of the coronavirus to the community from waste workers/pickers to the community making it difficult to control. The study revealed the fact that there has been proper awareness of symptoms and mode of transmission among waste workers/pickers but due to unavailability of safety means, they are more vulnerable. This study established the fact that the Government's priority to health sector alone cannot reduce the COVID-19 vulnerability if waste management sector is not prioritized equally.
International Journal of Multidisciplinary Sciences and Advanced Technology Vol 1 Special No 1 (2020) 97103
Risk of COVID-19 for Household Waste Workers in Nepal
Tara Prasad Kharel 1
1 Nepal Administrative Staff College
Corresponding Author:,
Received 26 April 2020, Accepted 14 May 2020, Available online 14 May 2020
1. Introduction
In the past, human civilization was based on the agricultural practices. Such society used to produce goods needed
for them by themselves due to which there was no dependency with others for the supplies required for them. The
gradual process of civilization made more people to move from rural to city areas due to industrial revolution (Wilson,
2007) and made more dependent in to industrial products due to which the interdependency with each other has also
been increased. The industrial products are provided in to packages which make the availability and piling of unusable
materials in consumer’s side. Such unusable materials are termed as wastes. According to Brunner and Rechberger
(2014), human activities are responsible mostly for the generation of the waste. More dynamic the society, more
interaction and activities occurs resulting to the increase in the waste.
While defining the waste, many scholars have used their understanding differently. According to White and Hindle
(1995), waste is the useless by product of human activities which physically available in the same useful product. In
different way, Basu (2009) defined wastes as any product or material which is useless to the producer and even to the
consumers. Cheremisinoff’s (2003) expression about waste points it as the result of inefficient production processes and
further argues that its continuous generation is a loss of vital resources.
Even though there have been many arguments about waste, any substance cannot be called as waste without
knowing its usability by others. Hence, Dijkema et al (2000) gave more clear definition of waste. According to them,
any material or substances can only be regarded as a waste if the owner (or producer) labels it as waste. The waste for
an individual may be useful for another individual.
The coronavirus is pandemic in the world and Nepal has also been in complete lock down condition from more than 1
month. The majority of waste workers in Nepal represent the poor economic individuals or the migrant employee from
different parts of India. This study involved the comparative analysis of Solid Waste Management Act, Guidelines on
Nepal with field observation of three different areas of Kathmandu Valley. The act, rules, guidelines has been analysed
as secondary data sources and compared with field observation. The study identified the high risk of exposure of waste
workers and waste picker towards coronavirus. The analysis further suspected the retransmission of the coronavirus to
the community from waste workers/pickers to the community making it difficult to control. The study revealed the fact
that there has been proper awareness of symptoms and mode of transmission among waste workers/pickers but due to
unavailability of safety means, they are more vulnerable. This study established the fact that the Government’s priority
to health sector alone cannot reduce the COVID-19 vulnerability if waste management sector is not prioritized equally.
Keywords: : Waste Management, Waste workers, COVID-19, Coronavirus
2020 The Authors. Production and hosting by Crown Academic Publishing (CAP) on behalf of International Journal of Multidisciplinary Sciences
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Contents lists available at Crown Academic Publishing
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Original article
Tara Prasad Kharel et al / International Journal of Multidisciplinary Sciences and Advanced Technology Vol 1 Special No 1 (2020) 97103
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an acute respiratory disease, caused by a novel coronavirus called
SARS-CoV-2 (Guo et al., 2020). World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the COVID-19 epidemic as a
public health emergency of international concern. It has spread throughout most of the countries gaining worldwide
attention and public health emergency.
According to Guo et al. (2020), bat has been suspected as natural host of virus origin, and SARSCoV-2 might be
transmitted from bats via unknown intermediate hosts to infect humans. According to them, human-to-human
transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurs mainly between family members, including relatives and friends who intimately
contacted with patients or incubation carriers. Furthermore, they argue that it has been originated as the epidemic of
unknown acute respiratory tract infection which broke out first in Wuhan, China, since 12 December 2019. Now, it has
been transferred from human to human in the community-wide irrespective of family members, relatives and friends
creating the pandemic situation.
World Health Organization (WHO, 2020) says that coronavirus on the surface can easily be cleaned with common
household disinfectants that will kill the virus. Furthermore, it says that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72
hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard.
As in the industrial age of now, plastics, stainless steel, copper, cardboard etc. are the major packaging materials and
are produced as wastes in industrial and domestic uses. The susceptibility of coronavirus infection to the waste worker
is high.
Many developed countries have made and practiced their own standards for the collection and disposal of the waste
generated which is not found practiced in the underdeveloped and developing countries like Nepal. Because of the
pandemic of coronavirus, many countries, including both developed and underdeveloped, are in locked down condition
creating medical emergencies. Major importance has been given to the prevention of coronavirus transmission,
management and cure of the COVID-19 patients. Their major resources are targeted towards healthcare emergency. The
personal protective equipment (PPE) has been being compulsory for health-workers and security team who come
directly or indirectly in contact to the coronavirus patients or suspicious persons.
There has been less concerns for the workers working in the management of the wastes produced from households.
As majority of the population has been in home quarantine all over the world, it is immensely important to care about
the transmission of coronavirus to waste workers and retransmission from them to the community.
This study has been confined with the concern of coronavirus transmission to the waste workers from the wastes and
retransmission to the community based on the secondary literatures. This study does not cover the biological,
pathological, clinical and sociological aspects of the coronavirus transmission to the waste workers. In this study, the
concern has been made to analyze the guidelines of WHO, National waste management rules and regulations and other
documents related to the management of epidemic diseases and their control.
For this, the key questions explored through this study have been: 1) What is the provision of prevention of epidemic
diseases including coronavirus in national and WHO documents? 2) How vulnerable are waste workers in Nepal from
coronavirus? and 3) How much the community is in the risk of coronavirus retransmission from the coronavirus
positive waste worker? These questions are answered by using secondary data as far as available.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows: Section 2 presents the Literature Review, Section 3 Presents Research and
Methodology, Section 4 presents Results and Discussion and Conclusion, Limitations and Directions for Future
Research are given in Sec. 5.
2 Literature Review
2.1 Waste Management
As the population increases, its dependency on natural resources also increases. Because of the increased
population, industrialization and consumption, the production of waste also increases. The waste production
(generation) is found to be directly proportional to the increase in population and industrialization. In pre-historic time
to pre-industrialization time, the waste management was not a problem (Giusti, 2009). But when the continuous
production of such waste increases, there will be increase in the pollution or problem to the environment (Marchettini et
al., 2007). Hence, Ghiani et al. (2014) argued that, a proper organization of solid waste management has become an
essential task in order to safeguard the environment. Basu (2009) argues that the processing of waste is very essential to
safeguard the public health.
Tara Prasad Kharel et al / International Journal of Multidisciplinary Sciences and Advanced Technology Vol 1 Special No 1 (2020) 97103
Tsai (2007) argues that waste management is the collection, transportation, processing, recycling or disposal of
waste materials. According to Tchobanoglous et al. (1993) solid waste management is the process of safeguarding the
environment and the public by effective supervision and handling, keeping, collection, conveying, treatment and
disposal of waste. This idea has also been supported by Demirbas (2011) arguing that the main reason for managing
waste is ensuring the environment safety. Furthermore, Cheremisinoff (2003) believes in different forms of approach to
waste management based on characteristics and origin of wastes as industrial waste, municipal waste streams etc.
2.2 Solid waste management practices
As the characteristics of waste, concept and culture of waste management is different in different places and
countries, solid waste management practices also greatly varies across regions, countries and even cities/places within
country (Hoornweg, 2012). Many developed countries segregate the wastes and re-use, recycle for those which can be
reused or recycled. Other organic wastes are used to make compost and remaining is sent for safe disposal through
landfills. But in developing countries, according Giusti (2009), a large proportion of solid waste is disposed of on open
dump sites.
According to Hoornweg (2012), solid waste management in many developing countries is the responsibility of
both the municipal authorities and private sectors. In such countries, due to lack of solid waste sorting, all solid wastes
including electronic-wastes has been dumped on the same open grounds along with municipal waste (Needhidasan,
Samuel and Chidambaram, 2014).
2.3 Risk of exposure to solid waste collectors and waste pickers
Solid waste workers (collectors) are in continuous risk of exposure to solid waste. According to Abd El-Wahab
EW, et al (2014), such exposure can happen depending upon the level of protective ware, knowledge of risk, standards
and practices of waste sorting and equipment available for collection and sorting. Furthermore, they argued that, in
many developing countries, municipal waste is handled by workers with limited protective gear. According to Rachiotis
G, et al (2012), such waste handlers at very high risk of exposure in absence of waste sorting knowledge and lack of
protective wear.
In many developing countries, dumping sites are main source of economic livelihood to waste pickers.
According to Oguntoyinbo (2012), this process of picking waste adds the exposure to these people to many risks
including infection, respiratory complications from fumes etc. Such retrieved articles and food, if consumed by them or
even sold to market, puts either themselves or a huge population at risk.
In the editorial of International Journal of Occupational Safety and Health, Vol. 8 No. 2 (2018), Baral argues that
the waste materials can be dangerous not only for the waste workers but also general people by the high risk of illnesses
and dysentery, typhoid, fever, enteritis, cholera, diarrhea and respiratory problems to the mass population. According to
him, waste pickers collect plastics, paper, cardboard, wires, glass bottles, rubber materials, and sharp metals and
harmful electronic materials from landfill sites and garbage collection centre which can be risky for their health. Waste
pickers are facing specific risks in this pandemic with high exposure to germs and high proximity to other people as for
example, waste pickers handle materials, including medical waste that may be contaminated with coronavirus (WIEGO,
3. Methodology
Research and Methodology
This study attempts to analyze the provision on Solid Waste Management Act and Rules of Nepal with current
corona pandemic situation. It also analyzes the related documents, guidelines by the Government of Nepal and WHO
guidelines. Then it tried to compare with exact field condition at three different places of Kathmandu Valley (Bouddha
area, Satdobato area and Gongabu area) where both municipal authorities and private sectors are working for waste
The research methods used in the study includes the desk review of literature from different sources. The research
study was based on secondary sources of data collection and field observation (including video reporting of media). The
available laws, guidelines and WHO guidelines along with advice for waste workers regarding coronavirus (COVID-
19) by Global Alliance of West Pickers has been analyzed to compare and document the global and national provision
with field status. Previous literature related to the topics from scientific journals, research reports, annual reports and
other relevant documents were studied.
Tara Prasad Kharel et al / International Journal of Multidisciplinary Sciences and Advanced Technology Vol 1 Special No 1 (2020) 97103
4. . Results and Discussion
4.1 Solid Waste Management Act, 2068 (2011)
The Solid Waste Management Act, 2011 defines solid waste collection as the collection of solid waste from
such waste production site, house to house collection, sweeping, depositing, weed uprooting, waste materials from
public places, and collection of posters or pamphlets which are pasted without permission at public place. Similarly,
Section 6 of the Act, has made provision of segregating waste at least into organic and inorganic waste where waste
generators need to store the waste differently (for the ease of recycling and re-use) at the source until it gets collected.,
the waste should be segregated at the source according to its nature.
The article 4 of the act confirms the responsibility for the management of solid waste is of the local body (now
local government). Furthermore, the article 6 of this act explains about the segregation of solid waste being the
responsibility of the local body who shall prescribe to separate the solid waste into at least organic and inorganic
including different kinds at its source. Similarly, Article 7 of the act describes the discharge of solid waste mentioning
harmful waste or chemical waste shall not be discharged at solid waste collection centre or transfer centre. The reality,
as reported in media and as observed in field has found no such separation of the solid waste produced from households.
The solid waste produced from clinics and medical centres also found collected with household solid wastes which
ultimately increase the risk of inclusion of harmful and toxic wastes in waste collection. Unfortunately, if the
coronavirus contaminated solid waste has been found in the collection, then that might cause the transmission to the
waste collectors and waste pickers which latter may be retransmitted back to the community, if any asymptomatic case
of coronavirus has been found in the household or clinics.
4.2 Solid Waste Management Rules, 2070 (2013)
Rule 3 (1) of this rules describes the role of the Local Body (now local government) shall, while fixing
segregation at least of organic and non-organic solid waste at its source under Section 6, have to make management and
segregation of harmful or chemical waste separately. While in the field visit of these places and media reports also have
shown as there has been no such separation of the harmful wastes. As many of the coronavirus positive cases in Nepal
have no significant symptoms (or no any symptoms listed by WHO), there has been increasing risk of direct exposure
of COVID-19 to waste collectors and west pickers.
The rule 7, transportation of solid waste where solid waste should not be visible, should not fall out and no
seepage of liquid materials should be made, there should be no leach and odor coming out of the solid waste and solid
waste can be easily loaded and unloaded. But the field observation has found that wastes are exposed to the
environment directly, odor coming out from trucks loaded with solid waste and waste are not packed rather dispersed
inside the truck. The open exposure and not packing solid waste properly even carrying the waste more than the
capacity of the collection truck has increased the risk to the west pickers as well as to the community for exposure of
4.3 Water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for the COVID-19 virus (WHO Interim guidance 23
April 2020)
This interim guidance says, there are no studies on the survival of the COVID-19 virus in drinking-water or
sewage. Similarly, the main routes of transmission, as per interim guidance, are respiratory droplets and direct contact.
It says that person in close contact with an infected individual is at risk of being exposed to potentially infective
respiratory droplets and further droplets may also land on surfaces where the virus could remain viable making the
immediate environment of an infected individual as a source of transmission.
Based on the recent evidences, the interim guidance indicates that COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) survival on
surfaces is similar to that of SARS-CoV-1, with survival on surfaces ranging from 2 hours to 9 days. Furthermore it
explains the survival time depends on several factors (including the type of surface, temperature, relative humidity and
the strain of the virus).
The interim guidance further explains that the waste generated at home during quarantine, while caring for a
sick family member or during the recovery period should be packed in strong black bags and closed completely before
disposal. As per recent practice in Nepal, all coronavirus positive cases has been sufficiently treated at hospital. The
disposal of waste of such positive cases comes under healthcare waste management. But before the confirmation of the
case, people in Nepal are either in home self-quarantine or quarantine managed by local governments or communities.
There has been no segregation of waste found in the household waste which may include the droplets of individual
mixed in household waste before the individual has been confirmed by the hospital by swab test in PCR machine. This
ultimately makes waste collectors and waste pickers in risk.
Tara Prasad Kharel et al / International Journal of Multidisciplinary Sciences and Advanced Technology Vol 1 Special No 1 (2020) 97103
The waste produced from household includes organic contents and non-organic including paper, glass bottles,
metals, plastic bottles, clothes etc. Such recyclable and reusable wastes are collected by informal waste pickers. Such
waste may contain the droplets of infected individual (indirectly by mixing or directly as it has been used by
asymptomatic infected person). Such materials are picked up by waste pickers using hand (without gloves and other
equipment) and collected to the scrap dealers. Some of usable materials are used by waste pickers themselves or sold in
informal market to the poor people. In both of the cases, there has been the high risk of exposure to the individual or
community towards droplets containing coronavirus.
4.4 Recommendations for Waste Pickers against Coronavirus (the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers)
The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers (a networking process supported by WIEGO, among thousands of waste
picker organizations with groups in more than 28 countries covering mainly Latin America, Asia and Africa) has
published the Recommendations for Waste Pickers and their organizations against Coronavirus where the additional
advice for waste workers has been recommended as following:
People in high risk groups should not go to work. All others should work alone or in small groups maintaining
at least 1 meter (3 feet) of distance from each other. If workers are in groups, maintain the same groups day
after day so that if someone falls ill with COVID-19 it will be easier to identify and quarantine others who
were exposed.
Assume that any recyclable or waste materials that you are handling may be contaminated by the virus.
Coronaviruses are believed to live on surfaces for up to 9 days.
Avoid exposure to fumes or dust from waste materials, especially when waste is being dumped or compacted.
Workers with long hair should tie their hair back to avoid contaminating their face.
Wear gloves when working, but be aware that your gloves can easily contaminate surfaces and spread COVID-
19 if not handled properly. Avoid putting your gloves in your pocket (better to store them in a designated
plastic bag). Never touch your gloves to your face.
Wash hands with soap and water before and after collection routes and any time you remove your gloves.
Have a minimum 70% alcohol solution with you to sanitize hands when water and soap are not available.
Try to work in well-ventilated places only.
Regularly clean commonly touched surfaces with at least 70% alcohol or soap and water 12.
Use work gear, including gloves, and cover your skin and hair as much as possible while working. Remove
clothing (including shoes) and gear before entering your home.
Shower after finishing your route and wash your collection clothes and gear daily.
Do not sort materials meticulously and avoid touching and sorting materials that indicate illness, such as
tissues, masks, containers for medications like cough syrup, etcetera, or that appear to be marked as hazardous.
Avoid picking through materials you can’t properly see.
Establish systems of communication with your colleagues so that people can be informed if someone falls ill or
needs assistance.
Establish protocols for if a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19.
The field observation found that both waste pickers and waste collectors are not properly wearing personal protective
equipment neither even they were able to maintain the distance of 1 meter. The discussion with them indicates that they
are aware of this fact but due to lack of proper equipment (work gear) and stressed working condition, they were unable
to maintain it. They do not have facility of cleaning their hands with 70% alcohol based sanitizer due to unavailability
in the market and failure of private sector employer to provide them. They have been working and staying in group
despite of the awareness of social distance informed by the government of Nepal. Many of waste pickers were found
outside of Nepal who came here in the search of livelihood opportunity to sustain their lives and livelihood of their
family. The poor economic condition of such waste workers and waste pickers, availability of rooms, drinking water
and foods does not let them to reside separately, afford the soap & water or hand sanitizer and even the work gears
(including personal protective equipment) during their work.
5. Conclusion
This study revealed that the legal provisions in the Act and Rule of Solid Waste Management in Nepal have
not been followed and monitor properly in the past and in this coronavirus pandemic situation too. Also, the interim
guidance of WHO and the advice of Global Alliance of Waste Pickers have not been followed properly. The poor
economic condition, lack of monitoring and support to the waste workers and waste pickers has made them in the risk
of high exposure of coronavirus in Nepal. Because of the unavailability and lack of practice of work gear (equipment,
gloves, boots etc.) properly required to fight against the coronavirus among the waste workers and waste pickers in
Nepal, they have high probability of being infected by the droplet infection of coronavirus positive individuals.
Tara Prasad Kharel et al / International Journal of Multidisciplinary Sciences and Advanced Technology Vol 1 Special No 1 (2020) 97103
Similarly, open collection, disposal and scattered waste materials loaded trucks in the city area may make the area
susceptible to the coronavirus infection due to the liquid leakage and waste falling from transporting trucks. Finally, the
asymptomatic coronavirus cases in home quarantine may lead to massive transmission of the coronavirus to the waste
workers and waste pickers with high chance of retransmission to the community in massive level after the lockdown
overs. This study further suggests to the overall study of municipal waste segregation, collection and disposal for
helping waste workers, waste pickers and the community to be safe from the coronavirus pandemic.
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... Similarly, PPE for waste collectors and education on waste handling techniques provided by the government sector has a significant association with present HH waste management approaches at 5% level of significance (p < 0.05). It means each variable directly affected HH waste management systems and this is supported by other studies (Kharel 2020). ...
... In particular, MSW's collection, sorting, distribution, and final storage is the responsibility of the local government. Due to the lack of finance and human resources, the local authorities provide only limited service to civil people (Kharel 2020). Metropolitan areas in Nepal are no edge cases; both local, as well as national authorities are experiencing major waste management problems. ...
Full-text available
The spread of COVID-19 is posing significant challenges to the household (HH) waste management sectors putting waste personnel and concerned bodies under massive pressure. The chain of collection, segregation, recycling, and disposal of household generated wastes is interrupted. This study aimed to assess how the household waste management chain was disrupted by novel coronavirus in Nepal and find the perception of the people towards the existing household waste management system (HHWMS). A descriptive online survey was carried out among 512 people using a cross-sectional research design and data was collected through a self-administered questionnaire method. Both descriptive, as well as inferential tests, were conducted using SPSS software. The finding of this study showed that 62.3% of respondents were not satisfied with the present HHWMS. Furthermore, there was a significant association of the satisfaction level of household waste management during coronavirus outbreak with gender, waste volume change in lockdown, PPE for waste collectors, and education on waste handling techniques provided by the government sector at 5% level of significance (p < 0.05). Proper HH waste management has become a challenge, and to address this some innovative works such as awareness programs for people, health and hygiene related support to waste workers, and effective policy formulation and implementation should be done by the Government of Nepal.
... In that regard, Mol and Caldas (2020) report that spread of the coronavirus may be increased by inadequate waste management through poor handling conditions particularly in developing countries with poor waste management strategies. Kharel (2020) reported that as many of the coronavirus patients in Nepal are asymptomatic, contaminated solid waste may result in transmission to waste collectors and pickers and then retransmission back to the community. Additionally, some of the waste materials are sold in informal markets to poor people, posing additional risk of infection (Kharel, 2020). ...
... Kharel (2020) reported that as many of the coronavirus patients in Nepal are asymptomatic, contaminated solid waste may result in transmission to waste collectors and pickers and then retransmission back to the community. Additionally, some of the waste materials are sold in informal markets to poor people, posing additional risk of infection (Kharel, 2020). In Nigeria, solid wastes are dumped in poorly managed dumpsites which are scavenged for recyclable materials and food for livestock, posing risk of infection with COVID-19 and exacerbating its spread within the community (Nzediegwu and Chang, 2020). ...
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading globally having a profound effect on lives of millions of people, causing worldwide economic disruption. Curbing the spread of COVID-19 and future pandemics may be accomplished through understanding the environmental context of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and adoption of effective detection tools and mitigation policies. This article aims to examine the latest investigations on SARS-CoV-2 plausible environmental transmission modes, employment of wastewater surveillance for early detection of COVID-19, and elucidating the role of solid waste, water, and atmospheric quality on viral infectivity. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via faecal-oral or bio-aerosols lacks robust evidence and remains debatable. However, improper disinfection and defected plumbing systems in indoor environments such as hospitals and high-rise towers may facilitate the transport of virus-laden droplets of wastewater causing infection. Clinical and epidemiological studies are needed to present robust evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is transmissible via aerosols, though quantification of virus-laden aerosols at low concentrations presents a challenge. Wastewater surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 can be an effective tool in early detection of outbreak and determination of COVID-19 prevalence within a population, complementing clinical testing and providing decision makers guidance on restricting or relaxing movement. While poor air quality increases susceptibility to diseases, evidence for air pollution impact on COVID-19 infectivity is not available as infections are dynamically changing worldwide. Solid waste generated by households with infected individuals during the lockdown period may facilitate the spread of COVID-19 via fomite transmission route but has received little attention from the scientific community. Water bodies receiving raw sewage may pose risk of infection but this has not been investigated to date. Overall, our understanding of the environmental perspective of SARS-CoV-2 is imperative to detecting outbreak and predicting pandemic severity, allowing us to be equipped with the right tools to curb any future pandemic.
... One major challenge these people are facing is the large amount of medical waste generation that possesses great potential to spread the disease. Surge in solid medical waste puts solid waste collectors, waste pickers, and waste handlers at a higher risk (Kharel 2020). As per the CPCB guidelines on biomedical waste generation during COVID-19, there are some preventive measures or solutions (Fig. 7) ...
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The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has created havoc all across the globe causing exponential casualties and tremendous health and economic loss. With increasing COVID-19 cases, the amount of biomedical waste has increased manifolds making more people vulnerable to the pandemic. The developing and underdeveloped countries are already facing the challenges of waste management, and the waste generated during the pandemic scenario has added to the already existing challenges. The improper waste management practices need to be corrected; otherwise, the world will be facing a new disaster that could be termed as ‘waste disaster’. The increase in COVID-19-associated waste (CAW) quantity and their availability in the environment will result in their easy approach to other organisms, which will possibly increase the potential risk of food chain contamination. Some of the countries have already started to make backup plans and are struggling to overcome the ‘waste disaster’. In light of the limited knowledge available on the mutational properties and possible hosts of this newly emerged COVID-19, there is a great demand to have an efficient strategy to prevent the environment from further contamination in India. The necessity of the prevailing time is to create a more efficient, automatic, mechanized, and well-modified waste management system for handling the present situation and delaying the projected waste disaster in the near future in the era of COVID-19. The article aims to address the issues that originated from waste discharges, their potential sources along with possible sustainable solutions. Graphical abstract
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Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the novel coronavirus, results in an acute respiratory condition coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and is highly infectious. The recent spread of this virus has caused a global pandemic. Currently, the transmission routes of SARS-CoV-2 are being established, especially the role of environmental transmission. Here we review the environmental transmission routes and persistence of SARS-CoV-2. Recent studies have established that the transmission of this virus can occur, amongst others, in the air, water, soil, cold-chain, biota, and surface contact. It has also been found that the survival potential of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is dependent on different environmental conditions and pollution. Potentially important pathways include aerosol and fecal matter. Particulate matter may also be a carrier for SARS-CoV-2. Since microscopic particles can be easily absorbed by humans, more attention must be focused on the dissemination of these particles. These considerations are required to evolve a theoretical platform for epidemic control and to minimize the global threat from future epidemics.
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Abstract An acute respiratory disease, caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, previously known as 2019-nCoV), the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread throughout China and received worldwide attention. On 30 January 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the COVID-19 epidemic as a public health emergency of international concern. The emergence of SARS-CoV-2, since the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in 2002 and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012, marked the third introduction of a highly pathogenic and large-scale epidemic coronavirus into the human population in the twenty-first century. As of 1 March 2020, a total of 87,137 confirmed cases globally, 79,968 confirmed in China and 7169 outside of China, with 2977 deaths (3.4%) had been reported by WHO. Meanwhile, several independent research groups have identified that SARS-CoV-2 belongs to β-coronavirus, with highly identical genome to bat coronavirus, pointing to bat as the natural host. The novel coronavirus uses the same receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as that for SARS-CoV, and mainly spreads through the respiratory tract. Importantly, increasingly evidence showed sustained human-to-human transmission, along with many exported cases across the globe. The clinical symptoms of COVID-19 patients include fever, cough, fatigue and a small population of patients appeared gastrointestinal infection symptoms. The elderly and people with underlying diseases are susceptible to infection and prone to serious outcomes, which may be associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and cytokine storm. Currently, there are few specific antiviral strategies, but several potent candidates of antivirals and repurposed drugs are under urgent investigation. In this review, we summarized the latest research progress of the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and clinical characteristics of COVID-19, and discussed the current treatment and scientific advancements to combat the epidemic novel coronavirus.
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Background: Solid waste management has emerged as an important human and environmental health issue. Municipal solid waste workers (MSWWs) are potentially exposed to a variety of occupational biohazards and safety risks. The aim of this study was to describe health practices and safety measures adopted by workers in the main municipal company in Alexandria (Egypt) as well as the pattern of the encountered work related ill health. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between January and April 2013. We interviewed and evaluated 346 workers serving in about 15 different solid waste management activities regarding personal hygiene, the practice of security and health care measures and the impact of solid waste management. Results: Poor personal hygiene and self-care, inadequate protective and safety measures for potentially hazardous exposure were described. Impact of solid waste management on health of MSWWs entailed high prevalence of gastrointestinal, respiratory, skin and musculoskeletal morbidities. Occurrence of accidents and needle stick injuries amounted to 46.5% and 32.7% respectively. The risk of work related health disorders was notably higher among workers directly exposed to solid waste when compared by a group of low exposure potential particularly for diarrhea (odds ratio [OR] = 2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.2-3.8), vomiting (OR = 2.7, 95% CI = 1.1-6.6), abdominal colic (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.1-3.2), dysentery (OR = 3.6, 95% CI = 1.3-10), dyspepsia (OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.1-3), low back/sciatic pain (OR = 3.5, 95% CI = 1.8-7), tinnitus (OR = 6.2, 95% CI = 0.3-122) and needle stick injury (OR = 3.4, 95% CI = 2.1-5.5). Conclusions: Workers exposed to solid waste exhibit significant increase in risk of ill health. Physician role and health education could be the key to assure the MSWWs health safety.
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Human activities inevitably result in wastes. The higher the material turnover, and the more complex and divers the materials produced, the more challenging it is for waste management to reach the goals of “protection of men and environment” and “resource conservation”. Waste incineration, introduced originally for volume reduction and hygienic reasons, went through a long and intense development. Together with prevention and recycling measures, waste to energy (WTE) facilities contribute significantly to reaching the goals of waste management. Sophisticated air pollution control (APC) devices ensure that emissions are environmentally safe. Incinerators are crucial and unique for the complete destruction of hazardous organic materials, to reduce risks due to pathogenic microorganisms and viruses, and for concentrating valuable as well as toxic metals in certain fractions. Bottom ash and APC residues have become new sources of secondary metals, hence incineration has become a materials recycling facility, too. WTE plants are supporting decisions about waste and environmental management: They can routinely and cost effectively supply information about chemical waste composition as well as about the ratio of biogenic to fossil carbon in MSW and off-gas.
Life is often considered to be a journey. The lifecycle of waste can similarly be considered to be a journey from the cradle (when an item becomes valueless and, usually, is placed in the dustbin) to the grave (when value is restored by creating usable material or energy; or the waste is transformed into emissions to water or air, or into inert material placed in a landfill). This preface provides a route map for the journey the reader of this book will undertake. Who? Who are the intended readers of this book? Waste managers (whether in public service or private companies) will find a holistic approach for improving the environmental quality and the economic cost of managing waste. The book contains general principles based on cutting edge experience being developed across Europe. Detailed data and a computer model will enable operations managers to develop data-based improvements to their systems. Producers oj waste will be better able to understand how their actions can influence the operation of environmentally improved waste management systems. Designers oj products and packages will be better able to understand how their design criteria can improve the compatibility of their product or package with developing, environmentally improved waste management systems. Waste data specialists (whether in laboratories, consultancies or environ­ mental managers of waste facilities) will see how the scope, quantity and quality of their data can be improved to help their colleagues design more effective waste management systems.
A review of Handbook of solid waste management and waste minimization technologies is presented. The book provides the reader a broad overview of the US environmental statutes and liabilities associated with the environmental management. It also provides guidance on establishing pollution prevention and waste management programmes. The book is recommended as a source of reference for the practicing environmental engineers.
Electronic waste or e-waste is one of the emerging problems in developed and developing countries worldwide. It comprises of a multitude of components with valuable materials, some containing toxic substances, that can have an adverse impact on human health and the environment. Previous studies show that India has generated 0.4 million tons of e-waste in 2010 which may increase to 0.5 to 0.6 million tons by 2013-2014. Coupled with lack of appropriate infrastructural facilities and procedures for its disposal and recycling have posed significant importance for e-waste management in India. In general, e-waste is generated through recycling of e-waste and also from dumping of these wastes from other countries. More of these wastes are ending up in dumping yards and recycling centers, posing a new challenge to the environment and policy makers as well. In general electronic gadgets are meant to make our lives happier and simpler, but the toxicity it contains, their disposal and recycling becomes a health nightmare. Most of the users are unaware of the potential negative impact of rapidly increasing use of computers, monitors, and televisions. This review article provides a concise overview of India's current e-waste scenario, namely magnitude of the problem, environmental and health hazards, current disposal, recycling operations and mechanisms to improve the condition for better environment.
Solid waste management (SWM) is an increasingly complex task, absorbing a huge amount of resources and having a major environmental impact. Computerized systems based on operations research techniques can help decision makers to achieve remarkable cost savings as well as to improve waste recovery. Nevertheless, the literature is quite scattered and disorganized. The objective of this paper is to present an updated survey of the most relevant operations research literature on SWM, mainly focusing on strategic and tactical issues. In addition to providing an extensive bibliographic coverage, we describe the relationships between the various problems, and outline future research.