Clinical waste rises 20% amid Covid-19

 pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

CLINICAL waste has increased by 20% since Covid-19 hit the country, said Environment and Water (KASA) Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (picture).

Clinical waste is classified as scheduled waste which requires special handling and disposal procedures as stipulated under the Environment Quality Act 1974 [Act 127] (EQA 1974) .

Tuan Ibrahim said all of the waste from health facilities such as personal protective equipment (PPE) used in handling Covid-19 patients are categorised under clinical waste.

“The PPE will be collected and disposed off at clinical waste disposal facilities that have pollution control technology,” he said responding to a question from Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (Machang-BN) who wanted to know if KASA has plans to establish special plants for clinical waste in each state.

Tuan Ibrahim said clinical waste must be disposed of at premises that have obtained licence from the environment department.

He also said single-use plastic used by the public at wet markets, factories, offices and other places for protection purposes are categorised under domestic waste and their disposal are managed by the local authorities under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

Meanwhile, responding to a question from Saifuddin Nasution (Kulim Bandar Baru-PH) who asked if the government would compensate consumers who were affected by the water cuts due to river pollution, Tuan Ibrahim said the ministry only has plans to increase the penalty for offenders.

He said the ministry is proposing for the current fine of RM100,000 to be increased to RM10 million, while the jail time of one year to be increased to 15 years.

The minister also said the government is planning to increase treated water capacity to ensure consumers have sufficient water supply if there are disruptions to the water source.

“We will increase the treated water capacity so that if there is pollution at the water source, we have a reserve margin that can contain water sufficient for three days,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Selangor’s latest water contamination on Oct 19 had forced Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd to shut down four water treatment plants and had affected 1.2 million account holders in 1,292 areas including Kuala Lumpur.