Enviro Ministry cautions against dumping COVID-19 waste into landfills

Enviro Ministry cautions against dumping COVID-19 waste into landfills

Screen capture of Director General of Waste Management from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, during a discussion on COVID-19 medical waste in Jakarta, Tuesday (22/6/2021). ANTARA/Prisca Triferna/ac.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Director General of Waste Management from the Environment and Forestry Ministry Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, emphasized that medical waste must not be disposed into landfills, as special treatment down to its extermination are necessary.

"I would like to extend the message that medical waste should not be disposed in landfills," Ratnawati stated during a virtual discussion on medical waste in connection with COVID-19, accessed from Jakarta, Tuesday.

Moreover, Ratnawati highlighted that the ministry, along with law enforcement authorities, will continue to conduct surveillance and take legal actions against those found disposing of medical waste into landfills.

The ban on medical waste disposal into landfills was prompted by the contamination possibly arising in the waste of COVID-19 patients, as it can be dangerous and poisonous due to the infectious nature of the disease.


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Moreover, Director of Waste Management Verification Achmad Gunawan, stated during the discussion that medical waste related to COVID-19 must be segregated and kept separate from other poisonous and dangerous waste. The waste must be packaged in tightly closed and air-tight containers.

The extermination process should be conducted in an incinerator, with a minimum burning temperature of 800 degrees Celsius. The waste can also be treated using autoclave facilities, bearing in mind that not all medical waste can be destroyed using autoclaves.

Should there be no access to dangerous and poisonous waste management facilities, then it can be handed over to hospitals that are equipped with such tools or to Environment Offices to be collected in depots.

Gunawan also underscored the criticality of documenting the amount of medical waste being destroyed or handed over to third parties to be processed.

"These depots are direly required, as they help many parties, especially small isolation facilities or independent quarantines. From the depot, the waste is then collected by third parties. All of these must once again be documented," he remarked.
 
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