In a shocking incident, two young boys in Uttar Pradesh's Agra were seen using a discarded Personal Protective Kit (PPE) to drag firewood to their home.
The video of the incident, which was reportedly shot on Wednesday, has gone viral on social media.
According to the reports, it was shot near the DRDO laboratory in Agra Cantonment.
The Times of India reported that the children claimed to have found the used PPE kit from a pile of garbage near a graveyard which is close to the laboratory which is being used as an isolation centre for COVID-19 patients.
"We used the white suit to carry our firewood. Later, when we reached home, our parents asked us to immediately get rid of the suit and we dumped it in a nearby nullah," Outlook India quoted the children.
"The children were not aware that the PPE kit could be infectious," said the father of one of the children.
A health department official while trying to brush off the issue said that a private firm has been engaged to burn all the hazardous medical wase amid the coronavirus scare.
He suggested that the protective kit may have come from a private hospital.
Agra Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr R.C. Pandey said, "I have seen the video. The PPE kit that the children are carrying is not from any government medical facility. The kits purchased by us are blue in colour while this one is white."
He also said that according to the guidelines pertaining to COVID-19 waste management, the medical waste at hospitals is being collected in a separate container.
According to the official, medical waste is sprayed with disinfectant and is being carried to a disposal facility situation on Firozabad road.
The waste is taken out of the vehicle and again disinfected and then thrown into an electric furnace.
Reportedly, the children in the video and their families are yet to be tested for coronavirus.
While the country is witnessing a massive surge in the coronavirus cases post the relaxation of the lockdown, large amounts of COVID-19 waste are making their way to regular garbage piles across cities, in states.
This COVID-19 waste includes disposable mask, gloves, syringes, PPE kits and other equipment which are adding to the woes of civic authorities tasked with its collection, segregation and disposal.
Such untreated biomedical waste heaped on open spaces can prove to be hazardous not just to the sanitation workers who deal with the waste, but the people and stray animals who stay in the same vicinity.
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