Biomedical waste management and public health risks during COVID-19: Scenario of COVID diagnosis laboratories

Main Article Content

Md. Sahidur Rahman
Swagata Nandy


The unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly increased the volume of biomedical waste while the number of waste management workers halved in the state of lockdown in Bangladesh. The improper management of biomedical waste might facilitate the spreading of COVID-19 as SARS-COV-2 could survive on these wastes for variable durations. In this article, we presented the impact of COVID-19 on biomedical waste generation and management in Bangladesh and the waste disposal practices in laboratories. We also presented the practice of waste management in two COVID testing laboratories in Bangladesh. About 109 laboratories are working on the detection of COVID-19 through Real-time Reverse Transcriptase PCR. In April 2020, at least 14,500 tons of medical wastes were produced throughout the country which was almost double the amount produced previously (7756.3 tons per month earlier). COVID testing laboratories used biohazard bags for disposing of wastes and autoclaved these waste-filled bags before releasing them from the laboratory. These bagged wastes are collected by the City Corporation (local city authority) workers for final disposal. However, proper management of excess volumes of biomedical waste requires multidisciplinary collaboration of different stakeholders including the government, hospital administration, laboratory workers, researchers, and  policymakers.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Review articles
Author Biographies

Md. Sahidur Rahman, One health center for research and action. Akbarshah, Chattogram-4207, Bangladesh

One health center for research and action. Akbarshah, Chattogram-4207, Bangladesh

Swagata Nandy, One health center for research and action. Akbarshah, Chattogram-4207, Bangladesh

One health center for research and action. Akbarshah, Chattogram-4207, Bangladesh

Chattogram medical college hospital. Chawkbazar, Panchlaish, Chattogram-4203, Bangladesh


1. WHO. WHO Director-General’s remarks at the media briefing on 2019-nCoV on 11 February 2020 [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 October 28]. Avialable from: https://www.
2. Institute of epidemiology disease control and research (IEDCR). Bangladesh coronavirus (COVID-19) update [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 October 24]. Avialable from:
3. Palanisamy Pasupathi, Sivaraman Sindhu , Babu Shankar Ponnusha AA. Biomedical waste management for health care industry. Int J Biol Med Res [Internet]. 2011;2(1):472-486 [2020 October 25]. Avialable from: https://
4. UNEP. Waste Management during the COVID-19 Pandemic: from response to recovery | UNEP - UN Environment Programme [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 December 16]. Avialable from:
5. DGHS. secondary and tertiary healthcare [Internet]. 2011[2020 November 3]. Avialable from: https://
6. DGHS. Health Bulletin 2019 [Internet]. 2020 [2020 December 20]. Avialable from: images/docs/Publicaations/Health Bulletin 2019 Print Version (2)-Final.pdf
7. Nuralam HM, Xiao-lan Z, Dubey BK, Wen-Chuan D. Healthcare Waste Management Practices in Bangladesh: A Case Study in Dhaka City, Bangladesh. 2017. doi:10.5281/ ZENODO.1131077
8. World Health Organization. Regional Office for South-East Asia. World Health House Indraprastha Estate SEA-EH-593 Report on Health-Care Waste Management Status in Countries of the South-East Asia Region [Internet].; 2017. Accessed December 22, 2020. https://apps.who. int/iris/handle/10665/258761
9. Syed EH, Mutahara M, Rahman M. Medical Waste Management (MWM) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Home Health Care Manag Pract. 2012;24(3):140-145. doi:10.1177/1084822311425235
10. World Health Organization (WHO). Rational Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [Internet].; 2020. Accessed October 25, 2020.
11. Saadat S, Rawtani D, Hussain CM. Environmental perspective of COVID-19. Sci Total Environ. 2020;728:138870. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138870
12. Dhaka Tribune. World Environment Day: Medical waste prolonging Covid-19, threatening biodiversity | Dhaka Tribune [Internet]. 2020. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.
13. The Business Standard. 206.2 tonnes of Covid-19 wastes produced in Dhaka a day: Study | The Business Standard [Internet]. 206218-tonnes-covid-19-wastes-produced-dhaka-day-study. Published 2020. Accessed February 12, 2021.
14. Ramteke S, Sahu BL. Novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: considerations for the biomedical waste sector in India. Case Stud Chem Environ Eng [Internet]. Published online August 1, 2020:100029. doi:10.1016/j.cscee.2020.100029
15. Singh N, Tang Y, Ogunseitan OA. Environmentally Sustainable Management of Used Personal Protective Equipment. Environ Sci Technol [Internet]. 2020;54(14):8500-8502. doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c03022
16. ACR plus. Municipal waste management and covid-19 [Internet]. 2020 [2020 December 9]. Avialable from: municipal-waste-management-covid-19
17. Celitron. Biomedical waste types, definition and disposal management [Internet]. 2020 [2020 December 16]. Avialable from:
18. Center for disease control and prevention. Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities Recommendations of CDC and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) [Internet].; 2019 [2020 October 24]. Avialable from: https://www.cdc. gov/infectioncontrol/pdf/guidelines/environmental-guidelines-P.pdf
19. Richardson J, Barkley WE, Richmond DJ, Mckinney RW. Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories.
20. Sarkodie SA, Owusu PA. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on waste management. Environ Dev Sustain 2020:1-10. doi:10.1007/s10668-020-00956-y
21. WHO. Health-care waste [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2020 December 9]. Avialable from: /news-room/fact-sheets/detail/health-care-waste
22. Zand AD, Heir AV. Environmental impacts of new Coronavirus outbreak in Iran with an emphasis on waste management sector. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag. 2021;23(1):240-247. doi:10.1007/s10163-020-01123-1
23. MOHFW. MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE (MOHFW) Environmental Assessment and Action Plan For the Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Program (HPNSDP) E2606 V1 rev [Internet]. 2011 [2020 October 25]. Avialable from:
24. Anadolu Agency. Doctors plight mounting in Bangladesh amid pandemic [Internet]. 2020 [2020 October 24]. Avialable from: doctors-plight-mounting-in-bangladesh-amid-pandemic/1929449
25. Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) G of B. List of RT-PCR laboratories [Internet]. 2020 [2020 October 24]. Avialable from:
26. WHO. Water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 [Internet]. 2020 [2020 October 28]. Avialable from: publications/i/item/WHO-2019-nCoV-IPC-WASH-2020.4