By Keira Ives-Keeler
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, UNIDO is supporting medical waste management efforts in countries across the world.
The organization has significant experience of working with countries to improve waste management processes. For example, in India, UNIDO has been collaborating with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on a project focusing on medical waste management in five states: Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha and Punjab.
In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the awareness-raising elements of the ongoing Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded project in India are being extended to include the development of relevant audio-visual and publication materials. In addition, the microwave-technology thermal disinfection unit procured by the project is now being used for the treatment of COVID-19 waste.
Participating states in India have also prepared state-wide guidelines on the management of COVID-19 waste in line with the Biomedical Waste Management Rules 2016, which were formulated on the basis of an initial baseline survey carried out under the project. The procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical waste handlers in Karnataka and Maharashtra is also underway.