Guidelines to handle COVID-19 biomedical waste are out

CPCB releases guidelines to handle COVID-19 biomedical waste

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), has released guidelines for handling, treatment and safe disposal of biomedical waste generated during treatment, diagnosis and quarantine of patients confirmed or suspected to have the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Although India already had Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016, the pollution watchdog wanted to ensure that the waste generated specifically during testing of people and treatment of COVID-19 patients was disposed of in a scientific manner. The guidelines seek that the collected biomedical waste from COVID-19 should be labelled and stored separately prior to handing over the same to the Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment Facility (CBWTF). (Mongabay India)

Delhi government increases 2020-21 budget for water and sanitation by 70 percent

In its budget for the year 2020-21, the Delhi government has increased the allocation for water supply and sanitation by around 70 percent with more funds for unauthorised colonies and wastewater treatment plants. The government has set aside Rs 3,724 crore for implementation of DJB's plans and projects in 2020-21 and Rs 467 crore for its 20,000 litres of free water to all. A sum of Rs 110 crore has been allocated for Mukhyamantri Muft Sewer Connection Yojna. Along with this, there are plans to install four decentralised water treatment plants, with a combined capacity of about four million gallons per day (MGD) on the Yamuna banks. (Outlook India)

Experts seek reissue of draft environment impact assessment (EIA) notification 2020

The experts have written to the Environment Ministry requesting to reissue draft environment impact assessment (EIA) notification 2020 after the lockdown is lifted and normal activities resume. The ministry had published the draft on its website just before the coronavirus outbreak started picking up in the country. Moreover, as per the experts' claims the draft notification has been contentious for a number of reasons as it attempts to regularise large-scale environmental violations. The draft also proposes to reduce the time period for public to submit their comments during a public hearing from 30 days earlier to 20 days for any application seeking environmental clearance. (Hindustan Times)

JICA extends support for pollution abatement of Nag river in Nagpur

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed an agreement with the Centre to provide an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan of Rs 1,864 crore for pollution abatement of Nag river in Nagpur. The aim of the project is to improve the quality of water by abating pollution of Nag River and Pili River in Nagpur, Maharashtra, by developing appropriate sewerage systems in related river basins, thereby contributing to the urban environment improvement. The project has been aligned with Swachh Bharat Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation. (Businesswire India)

India defers meetings with neighbouring countries due to lockdown

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown, the Indian government has deferred the annual meeting of Indus Commissioners between India and Pakistan. As per the Indus Water Treaty, commissioners from both the countries are supposed to hold a meeting by 31 March. However, due to the nationwide lockdown, the meeting has been deferred and no fresh date has been fixed yet. Likewise, the high-level joint inspection meeting between India and Bangladesh, in which both the countries measure crucial hydrological data of Ganga river at the other side, has also been postponed. (The Economic Times, Outlook India)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from March 22 - April 6, 2020. Also, read news this week.