Managing Covid-19 Biomedical Waste in India

CSE conducted a webinar on “Managing COVID-19 biomedical waste in India” on the Wednesday, 30th of June 2021. 

Multiple government data sources were accessed and analyzed to conduct the study. Based on the findings of the report, CSE conducted a webinar with officials from CPCB, CBWTF’s association of India, and sector specialists from the biomedical waste management domain. 

The session started with a welcome note by Mr. Atin Biswas, Director- Municipal Solid Waste Management team at CSE. He stressed the importance and the need to manage this stream of waste appropriately and how the biomedical waste treatment infrastructure has been strained since the pandemic tightened its grip on the country. 

Mr. Siddharth G. Singh, Deputy Programme Manager, CSE presented the key findings of the study which set the context for the panel discussion.

Key findings: 

  • India generated 45,954 tonnes of COVID-19 related biomedical waste between 1st May 2020 and 10th May 2021 with an annual average generation of 126 tonnes per day. This was over and above the 614 tonnes per day of biomedical waste generated regularly, indicating a 20% increase in the overall biomedical waste generation. 
  • CPCB had been pro-active in issuing guidelines related to COVID-19 biomedical waste 
  • Reporting on the COVID-19 BWM application developed by CPCB has been poor. 
  • The treatment capacity of the country is only 754 tonnes per day as against the claimed treatment capacity of 826 tonnes per day (claimed by CPCB in its submission to the National Green Tribunal) 
  • In May 2021, COVID- 19 related waste accounted for 33% of the total biomedical waste that was generated. 22 of the 35 states and union territories generated more biomedical waste than their treatment capacity. 
  • There is a disproportionate increase in the caseload between the first peak (September 2020) and the second peak (May 2021), while the caseload increased by 234%, the increase in COVID-19 related biomedical waste was a meagre 11% 
  • The COVID-19 vaccination drive in India has generated 268 million syringes and needles and more than 18 million glass vials, all of which will be considered as COVID-19 related biomedical waste. At the end of the vaccination, India will generate over 1.3 billion syringes and needles and over 100 million glass vials.  

The panel discussion started with questions arising from the findings of the study. The key questions can be found in the resources attached for reference. 


  • Satish Sinha, Associate Director, Toxics Link
  • Youthika, Senior Environmental Engineer, Central Pollution Control Board
  • Syed Fareed Uddin, Expert - Hospital Planning and Biomedical Waste Management
  • Asad Warsi, Secretary, CBWTF's Association of India 

The session concluded on the note that while we are trying to collect data, underreporting needs to be addressed. Moreover, the quality and reliability of the data are of prime concern and our efforts should be directed to collect more meaningful data. This will help us to strategize, prioritize and position ourselves better to deal with the pandemic and the mass vaccination drive we are undergoing.




Webinar recording
Press Release
July 2, 2021
Under-counting and under-representation of data dogs management of COVID-19 biomedical waste, says CSE assessment
Managing Biomedical Waste in India
Managing COVID-19 Biomedical Waste in India
By: Siddharth Ghanshyam Singh
Deputy Programme Manager, CSE
DTE Story
COVID-19 will place India’s biomedical waste management under terrible strain
Questions for Panel Discussion
Associate Director
Toxics Link
Senior Environmental Engineer,
Central Pollution Control Board
Expert-Hospital Planning & Bio Medical Waste
Deputy Programme Manager,
Solid Waste Management Unit,
Programme Director,
Solid Waste Management Unit,
CBWTF's Association of India