Putrid waste into fragrant smells

Turning putrid waste into fragrant smells is the claim, but what is the reality?

A new technology from a CSIR lab could address the problem of disposing biomedical waste safely

If you thought biomedical waste from a hospital (blood, body tissues or parts included) smells only of ruination, repose or even death, you might need to change your perceptions.

You might be able to smell the fragrance of life in rotting waste if a new technology transferred by the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST), a constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), gains eventual traction.

The technology involves a solidifying agent, which reduces the risk of spillage and aerosolization, and a disinfectant that helps dispose of the waste as non-regulated medical waste – a ‘magic wand’ that would convert mounds of stink into rolling hills that waft the fragrance of a rose garden.

Covid-time peak of waste

The technology, ‘Disinfection-Solidification System for Pathogenic Biomedical Waste Disposal,’ has been transferred to Bio Vastum Solutions.(CML Group), Thrissur. This comes when the generation of biomedical wastes has witnessed a sharp increase due to the Covid-19 pandemic, NIIST said.

Joshy Varkey, Managing Director, Bio Vastum Solutions (CML Group), the transferee company, told BusinessLine that an otherwise putrefying biomedical waste (including liquid) will now solidify thanks to the NIIST technology, to which his company will add fragrance agent of a suitable choice.

According to Varkey, this could potentially render the difficult task of biomedical waste processing like a breeze, with fragrance added for ‘good’ measure. “There is no technology available anywhere in the world that facilitates at-source (in situ) disinfection of the waste.”

Ferrying waste for incineration

Currently, assorted waste is collected and incinerated at respective hospitals. Those hospitals in Kerala with no incinerators depend on an Indian Medical Association (IMA) division and the State Pollution Control Board to take it to Palakkad for incineration at the IMA’s facility.

One significant advantage of NIIST technology is that it solidifies liquid waste. Even if it has to be carted out to Palakkad, this ensures that there’s no spillage along the way and prevents inadvertent mixing or contamination in the unlikely event of a mishap involving the toppling of the carrier.

Since the technology carries out disinfection on the spot and liquid wastes are solidified, it could progressively allow for mixing with even municipal waste, not currently possible under the law. After all, pathogens and infective agents will have already been eliminated to allow for safe mixing.

No scavenging threats

Solidified biomedical mixed with municipal waste would also rule out the ugly prospect of birds foraging in the raw litter, picking on it, and letting go at random in flight.

The technology also rhymes well with the Make in India, Made in India, Swachh Bharat, Swasthya Bharata campaigns of the Central government. “Over the next five-six months, we propose to tie up with virology labs for third party certification, followed in due course by verification,” says Varkey.

Plans factory next

Bio Vastum has also given a lead time of one year for these processes to happen and also reach out to experts, the Pollution Control Board, hospitals, municipalities, people’s representatives and the people at large to convince them of the efficacy of the technology and its ecology-friendliness.

“We will then think of setting up a factory. Statistics say the country produces 800 MT of biomedical waste in a single day. So, we need to set up a factory with a capacity of 300,000 MT of the two products. States can have own factories to produce in required quantities,” says Varkey.

Turning putrid waste into fragrant smells – The Hindu BusinessLine

Bold and inflated claims but for India, developments such as this might be worthwhile, or at least better than nothing. It can only get better., but just how much better will remain in doubt.

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