Covid-19 : CEA issues solid waste disposal guidelines

For households and places observing self-quarantine

By Sarah Hannan 

With the increasing concerns over Covid-19 spreading even through waste that is irresponsibly disposed of by households and places where self-quarantine is observed, the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) yesterday (12) issued a set of guidelines to be followed when disposing of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by the general public.

CEA Chairman S. Amarasinghe, in a media statement, noted that the guidelines were prepared after consulting officials in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Western Province Waste Management Authority, and experts in the said fields.

Accordingly, the aforementioned households will have to now segregate waste under the categories of kitchen and food waste, non-biodegradable waste, and special waste, which are further explained below.

  • Kitchen and food waste: Food that is discarded after consumption, processing, or that is spoiled should be collected in a leak-proof polythene bag and placed in a plastic/metal basket.
  • Non-biodegradable waste: Paper, cardboard, polythene, plastic, discarded clothes, and other similar consumables should be collected in HDPE (25 microns or 100-gauge thickness) or LDPE (55 microns or 250-gauge thickness) polythene bags.
  • Special waste: Items that are potentially contaminated, such as face masks, gloves, tissues, handkerchiefs, sanitary pads, diapers, and any other material contaminated by bodily fluids are to be collected into a leak-proof yellow HDPE (25 microns or 100-gauge thickness) bag or LDPE (55 microns or 250-gauge thickness) polythene bags.
  • Special notice for houses observing self-quarantine: Do not discard your leftovers or food waste to the pets in the house or add it to the composting bin/pit until the quarantine period is completed and you have received the “all clear” from the healthcare authorities.