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Delhi HC expresses concern to protect scavengers against COVID-19 infection

ANI | Updated: Jun 01, 2020 23:52 IST

New Delhi [India], June 1 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Monday expressed its concern on dumping of bio-medical waste at common dumping grounds saying that scavengers will be the first ones to be exposed to COVID-19 infection.
"This is a critical area considering the submission made by counsel for the petitioners in the captioned case that bio-medical waste is being dumped at common dumping grounds which can itself be a breeding ground of COVID-19 infection. If any person unknowingly comes in contact with infected PPE kits as also gloves, masks, etc then he could be infected," a division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and S Prasad said.
"This is particularly a matter of concern as scavengers will be the first ones to be exposed to infection," the bench added.
The court said the issue of disposal of bio-medical waste by the civic authorities that has been highlighted by the petitioners, also needs to be addressed. Thus, it has asked Delhi government and other municipal corporations to file additional affidavits within one week highlighting the aspects raised by the bench.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on June 9.
Meanwhile, the court noted that the Union of India and the Government of Delhi have reconciled the inventory of PPE kits, N95 masks and gloves.
The court, however, found that the status reports filed by the Delhi government, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) and North Delhi Municipal Corporation are incomplete.
"The affidavits of the civic authorities are devoid of material particulars and do not throw any light on the number of Safai Karamcharis in their jurisdiction vis-a-vis the number of masks, gloves and other PPE kits that are provided to them on a day to day basis. Nor do the affidavits of any of the aforesaid bodies indicate the number of containment zones declared in their jurisdiction for this court to understand as to whether the requirements of the Safai Karamcharis in those areas which are more critical, have been adequately met or not," the court said.
The court was hearing two petitions, seeking direction to provide coveralls, masks, safety goggles, gloves, footwear and boot covers to the sanitation worker and to conduct proper training for these workers to deal with biomedical waste. (ANI)

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