EMA: New rules will help manage covid19 waste

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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With the World Health Organization (WHO) recently warning that covid19-related healthcare waste has strained waste-management systems worldwide, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) is calling on local stakeholders to do their part in properly regulating such waste.

In a release on Monday, the EMA said it hopes the recently enacted 2021 Waste Management Rules (WMR) and Waste Management (Fees) Regulations (WMFR) will make this possible.

The release explained, “These rules, which will come into operation from May 31, 2022, represent a positive step forward in the country’s environmental development agenda.

“They establish a legal framework to improve national waste management, including hazardous and non-hazardous waste.”

Under the new rules, organisations generating, processing, treating, packaging, storing, transporting, collecting, disposing, recovering and recycling hazardous waste at any quantity – or non-hazardous waste at or above a regulated quantity – must apply for and obtain permits before carrying out waste-related activities.

Organisations must also implement measures to reduce waste generation, manage waste in an environmentally sound way, segregate hazardous waste from non-hazardous waste to facilitate handling, and ensure waste is processed in a facility that is conforms with the rules,

“In the specific instance of covid19 waste,” it said, “though household-generated waste is exempt, facilities such as hospitals will have to apply for permits based on the categories and quantities stipulated in Schedules 1 and 2 of the WMR and WMFR.”

The EMA has also contributed to the work of a UN Environment Programme multi-sector team put together to work on the proper management of covid19 waste. It said its participation has enhanced Trinidad and Tobago’s technical capacity on the issue.