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Tuesday December 07, 2021

No proper corona waste disposal in KP

May 02, 2020

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has failed to make proper arrangements for the disposal of Corona waste from the hospitals and quarantine centres across the province while the death rate is increasing.

Similarly, 5.5 per cent mortality rate due to Coronavirus, which is still higher in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as compared to other three provinces by Friday, has panicked people. DG Health KP was sent several messages regarding the disposal of waste but he couldn’t respond.

When contacted, KP Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra said the government is following the WHO standards and the health department staff is taking swabs when a dead body arrives in hospital unlike Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan. This is also probably a reason for high death rate in KP. He said all Medical Teaching Institutes (MTIs), DHO and quarantine centres across the province have been instructed to properly dispose of the Coronavirus-related waste, but he admitted that this was instruction was not being fully implemented due to different reasons.

He said that government is working on long- and short-term policies for the waste disposal, and short term policy would be implemented soon. According to reports, corona waste of quarantine centres and hospitals is disposed of as normal municipal waste which then becomes a great source of Covid-19 spread in the province.

Sources confirmed that the infectious waste management in the province is a chronic and sensitive issue and the Chief Minister has approved a summary for outsourcing the waste, but the bureaucracy has not finalized it.

Supreme Court of Pakistan on April, 7 this year had ordered the government to take precautionary and administrative measures to dispose of waste appropriately in a secure manner. Health sources told Jang that substandard incinerators are either non-functional or operative without any NOC from KP’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, Peshawar's three major hospitals claim to have adequate waste management systems.

According to KP Health Department, out of total 2627 confirmed coronavirus cases, 654 recovered, 146 died and 1827 were under treatment. It means mortality rate in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is 5.5 percent higher than other provinces.

Punjab has 1.6 percent mortality rate, Sindh is 1.8 percent, Baluchistan 1.3 percent, while the countrywide mortality rate is 2.2 percent. Advisor to Chief Minister on Information Ajmal Wazir told this scribe that above 60 thousand Pakistanis were returned from foreign countries before and after the outbreak of Covide-19.

“High rate of fatality is obviously a cause of concern for government but most patients had other illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, cardiac and others, which led to their weak immune response. Afghan border was also opened to facilitate the people while members of Tabligi Jamaat and Zaireen also entered the province,” he said

He further said government has decided to extend lockdown till May 15 and had requested people to stay home. Punjab has 1.6 percent mortality rate, Sindh is 1.8 percent, Baluchistan 1.3 percent, while the countrywide mortality rate is 2.2 percent.