The economic shutdown under the Covid-19 pandemic has had two monumental impacts on our environment. It has improved our air and water quality dramatically and slashed our material consumption, water usage, and waste production.
According to a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) analysis of 115 Indian cities. The CPCB monitored the cities between March 16 and April 15, 2020. The air quality index (AQI) of 78 percent of cities was ‘good’ and ‘satisfactory’ during lockdown as compared to 44 percent of cities in the pre-lockdown phase. The drop could be attributed to, restricted vehicle movement, halt on construction activities, less road dust resuspension, and curb on industrial activities.
Yet the environment has witnessed the perils of the COVID outbreak. There has been a huge upsurge of medical waste- as the products used by the healthcare professionals are generally single-use items that can be worn only once before they are being disposed of.
According to the data shared by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India generated over 18,000 tonnes of COVID-related bio-medical waste between June and September in 2020. This includes personal protective equipment (PPE), gloves, face masks, head cover, plastic coverall, hazmat suit, syringes among other gears, and medical equipment used by both healthcare providers and patients.
On average, India generated about 183 tonnes of COVID-related bio-medical waste per day in September. Back in June, the figure stood at 101 tonnes per day. This quantity is in addition to the regular bio-medical waste generation of about 609 MT per day (as of June 2020).
Water and Waste Water Treatment:
The COVID pandemic has had a seismic effect on the Indian Economy. In India, more than 38,000 million liters of untreated sewage are discharged daily into the rivers due to the limited sewage treatment capacity, which can treat only 38% of the sewage generated (CPCB, 2015). Wastewater Based Epidemiology (WBE) has increasingly been employed as a complementary monitoring mechanism to identify the population-wide infection for early warning, which indicates the virus spread in the communities
On the basis of segment, the chemicals segment is expected to hold a significant global water and waste water treatment market share during the forecast period. Covid pandemic has increased demand on water supply and waste-water-management systems. This is due to the high demand for chemicals to remove harmful substances such as hydrogen peroxide and other contaminants from wastewater.
Humanitarian response infrastructure, such as building/improving water services and providing additional water supply points, have quickly upscaled during the Covid pandemic. In the least developed countries, for example, 22% of healthcare facilities have no water service, 21% have no sanitation service and 22% have no waste-management service.