COVID-19 has led to a pandemic of plastic and biomedical pollution

As the world tackles the coronavirus pandemic, world is staring at yet another challenge – the rising quantities of biomedical and plastic waste. With so many disposal items being used by hospitals and quarantine centers, waste generation is rising exponentially. ‘COVID Waste’ – Disposable masks, gloves and sanitizer bottles have joined the plastic pollution in our oceans, seas and landfills posing a serious threat to our environment. The WHO estimates that the planet is using about 89 million masks and 16 million gloves each month, we can think of the amount of plastic waste it’s generating.

CNN News 18 reports that average biomedical waste produced by a hospital bed on a daily basis before COVID-19 was around 500 grams which has increased after COVID-19 to 2.5 – 4 KGs. The two biggest COVID-19 hotspots in India, Delhi and Mumbai produce 38 tonnes and 15 tonnes of waste on a daily basis. Poor disposal mechanisms have largely contributed to the plastic and biomedical pollution.

Uttarakhand wildlife advisory board approves transfer of forest land for road construction

On 29 June, during the 15th meeting of the Uttarakhand State Wildlife Advisory Board, chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, has approved proposals for transfer of 73.36 hectares of forest land within the protected Gangotri National Park for construction of three strategically important roads near the India-China border. The board has sent its recommendation for final clearance to the National Board for Wildlife. These three strategically important roads include the 17.60 km Mandi-Sangchola road, the 11.85 km Sumla-Thangla road and the 6.21 km Tripadi-Rangmachgaad road.

In the same meeting, a different proposal has also been sent to the National Board for Wildlife for transferring forest land for the expansion of Dehradun’s Jollygrant Airport.

Earthquake measuring 4.0 on Richter scale jolts Jammu and Kashmir

On 30 June, an earthquake of magnitude 4.0 on the Richter scale struck the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. The epicenter of the earthquake was 84 km east of Katra, reports National Center for Seismology. There have been no reports of any loss of lives or damage to property.

In the past two months, the country has witnessed several mild earthquakes in many parts. In Jammu and Kashmir, 3 low-intensity tremors have been witnessed in the last month. Previously on 16 June, two mild quakes had rocked the Union Territory.

Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand opens for tourists 

The state executive committee (SEC) in Himachal Pradesh in its order dated 4 July has allowed the entry of tourists. The order though puts some conditions such as a test report showing negative for COVID-19 and a prior hotel booking of at least five days. The Himalayan state had barred entry of tourists in March in order to check the spread of the coronavirus.

Uttarakhand state government in its new order dated 2 July, has lifted all travel restrictions on both inter-state and inter-district travel. As per the order, hotels and homestays are now allowed to open for business. Though the ones falling in containment zones will still remain closed. The guidelines issued also states that anybody entering the state from other parts of the country will have to upload their COVID-19 test report on their website (https://smartcitydehradun.uk.gov.in). Further the district authorities will be verifying your medical reports during the time of entry at all border check posts.

(By: Gautam Kumar)

Campaign Notes & Newsletters – Reporting beats on forests, water, waste, tourism and urbanization. An initiative by Editorial Team at Himalayan Watch. Write to us at contactsdcuk@gmail.com

Support our research and communication on the ecological affairs of mountain states in India. Your support will ensure our independence and credibility.

Donate Now