COVID-19: Improvement of Organic and Clinical Wastes during COVID-19 Outbreak

The government of Malaysia announces the implementation of the first phase of the Movement Control (CPP) Order from March 18 to 31, 2020. However, the increasing prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to the CPP being extended until April 28, 2020. “One reasonable step” is the opinion of most Malaysians. However, do we realize that the CPP is also provoking an unexpected reaction? Among these are the reactions of agricultural products and the public.

Agricultural products are transformed into organic waste after they are removed. On April 9, about 50 tons of vegetables from the 20,000-acre farm were wasted and simply discarded because there were no buyers. Earlier, on March 27, more than 10 tonnes of fruit in the Klang Valley were also wasted.

Following the approval of Covid-19 as a pandemic, the public has been advised to use self-defence (PPE) tools. As a result, clinical wastes such as gloves and mouth and nose masks have begun to accumulate in solid waste. In addition, the number of Covid-19 patients has increased dramatically since late February and early March. Meanwhile, clinical waste also increased by 27 percent in March compared with 17 percent in February. The question is, where and how are these organic and clinical waste eliminated?

Agricultural products are organic, often perishable and decomposed. When they are rotten, they are watery and smell. High water ( leahate ) and odour are the result of the reaction of biorosorate or decomposition by microbes and they need to be well managed. Without good management, it will lead to environmental pollution.

The CPP makes the sale of agricultural products limited, resulting in huge losses to agricultural products entrepreneurs. To avoid further losses, these operators have been dumping their products in some of the most obscure areas. More precisely, conducting open dumping is an activity in which measures to control operations and protect the environment are not performed. Open dumping will threaten the well-being of the environment, especially air, land and water.

The smell can be an issue where open dumping is done especially when it involves agricultural products. The odour also originates in the water ( leachate ). The effect of odor on individuals is different. But nausea, headache, drowsiness, fatigue and respiratory problems are often a complaint by people near the open dumping areaSlight water can increase when it rains. The tap water contains pollutants such as solids and high suspended solids. High soluble solid content makes the water a bit colourless. When water flows through a soil, it pollutes the soil. In the case of low water, it penetrates deep into the soil and merges with groundwater), then groundwater is polluted.

Additionally, open dumping of agricultural products exposes humans to the risk of disease. This is because open dumping of agricultural products is an important source of food for disease-carrying animals such as mice, insects, birds and wild mammals. This animal’s stools and urine also contain microbial pathogenic . So anyone can be exposed to the infection when in an open dumping area especially when it comes to contact.

Fortunately, open waste dumping is not done during the CPP. This is because clinical waste must be disposed of using an incinerator in accordance with the Environmental Quality (Scheduled Waste) Regulations 2005. According to this rule, all clinical waste will be segregated in a hospital or clinic, collected by a special contractor, delivered by special vehicle and disposed of at the facility incinerator.

However, on April 2, a journalist found PPE tools such as gloves and mouth and nose masks at the Sanitary Solid Waste Disposal Site in Jeram, Kuala Selangor. This is a reasonable one because after the PPE is used, the public will mix it with other solid waste. Due to the use of PPE during the Covid-19 Pandemic CPP, operators involved in the landfill could be exposed to the risk of infection. However, these operators’ concerns can be mitigated when solid waste management companies take the initiative to direct operators to apply appropriate PPE when handling the solid waste during the CPP.

In conclusion, the loss of agricultural products to the CPP during the CPP was an expected one and their losses should have received the public’s sympathy. However, their actions in making open dumping are regrettable. They say open dumping is a quick solution at a minimal cost, but in silence, they unknowingly contribute to deteriorating environmental quality and disease spread.

On the other hand, the proactive action of solid waste management companies that prioritize employee safety is well-deserved and well deserved. However, for the general public, the recommendation of a waste management company is to apply the PPE that has been used to soak it with soap before mixing it with solid waste. For the general public, the recommendation is simple. It is especially important that the CPP be extended until April 28.

 

 

By: Ts. Dr. Roslinda Seswoya

Micro Pollution Research Center, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering

&

No. Dr Rafidah Hamdan |

Micro Pollution Research Center, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Tun Hussein Onn University Malaysia

 

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