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Stop Exposing Sanitation Workers through Open Bin Garbage Collection

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I am absolutely sure you must have seen that decrepit, ugly garbage truck with garbage spilling on the road and the unbearable stench which you just can't shake off even if you splash perfume in your nostrils. Imagine, the sanitation workers who handle this garbage on a daily basis.

The COVID 19 has shaken countries world over and brought the concept of Social Distancing. Today most of India is sitting at homes in lockdown condition, distancing from neighbours and friends. But sadly there is one aspect where the rules of distancing is not being followed. Yes, it is the very mundane and common activity, generally not noticed, not at all conspicuous and it is the activity of garbage collection

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The garbage collection in India is done in open bins wherein the sanitation workers collect the garbage from door to door. Then this garbage is transported in open trucks, many a times spilling a bit on the whole route taken by the vehicle. This is a surefire method of spreading the contamination while the whole nation is maintaining social distancing. Maybe the little bits of garbage here and there do not pose such a health hazard in normal conditions but during the COVID 19 pandemic, it poses a huge risk to all and most to the Sanitation Workers who are collecting the garbage, loading it on the trucks and driving those trucks.

The problem is dire in high rise apartments where door to door collection of garbage is done by Sanitation Staff or House Keeping staff in large garbage tubs which are perfunctorily covered with lids. These garbage tubs are taken up and down in lifts and elevators and the sanitation workers are confined all this time in the closed space with the garbage effusing all kinds odours and germs. God forbid if there is COVID -19 in any of the garbage.

Long time back, India banned open carriage of night soil by the sanitation workers from open latrines because it was a health hazard for the sanitation workers and the surrounding areas. Today with COVID -19, collection and carriage of garbage in open is a larger contamination hazard. Therefore all wet and dry garbage from homes be collected in sealed bio-degradable garbage disposal bags and then transported in sealed garbage transportation vehicles for final disposal in land fills or incineration.

I request the Central Pollution Control Board to immediately put a stop to open bin collection and open truck transportation of garbage.   

Let us drive away the ugliness from our roads and from the daily routine of the sanitation workers. Let us protect them and us not only from COVID -19 but all infectious diseases which may emerge in the future.