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Recognizing that Patna faces a waste management issue, the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the situation. Two academics have conducted a study and released a book that not only highlights the problem but also offers suggestions for Bihar’s capital city.

Papia Raj and Aditya Raj, both associate professors at IIT Patna and authors of Discard Studies India: A Case of Patna, point out that medical waste and plastic waste are major concerns in the city.

They discovered that only the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Patna has an incinerator for medical waste. Despite offering this service to other hospitals for a fee, few government or private hospitals utilize it. They emphasized that while domestic waste is often seen as the main issue, medical and plastic waste pose a greater threat.

According to the authors, although the pandemic initially led to changes in people’s behavior towards sanitation, there has been a recent reversal of these changes. They noted that the medical waste generated during the pandemic has also caused significant problems.

The authors highlighted that the Covid-19 pandemic has further complicated the situation in Patna, leading to the improper disposal of medical waste near residential areas. They stressed the need for renewed efforts to address waste management during the pandemic.

Papia Raj and Aditya Raj, who are married to each other, focused their study on an urban area with a population of 2.5 million that produces approximately 1,200 tonnes of waste per day in Patna.

When searching for a solution to the city’s waste problem, the authors suggested learning from the cleanliness drive during the Chhath festival. They observed a positive change in behavior and attitude towards waste disposal during the festival.

The authors believe that changing people’s attitudes can have a positive impact on waste disposal practices, not only in Patna but also in other areas facing similar challenges. They recommended community-supported programs to raise awareness about waste management.

They also proposed that the government should promote businesses involved in waste management. Currently, waste collected in Bihar is sent to places like Gujarat for recycling, as there are few waste management ventures in Patna.

The study from IIT highlighted that a large portion of waste in Patna comes from households, hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other businesses. The authors emphasized that addressing waste at its source, along with community involvement, is essential for a long-term solution.

In conclusion, the authors stressed the importance of respecting traditional practices that promote harmony with nature and called for a change in attitudes towards waste disposal. They emphasized the need for community involvement and support to tackle the waste management challenges in Patna.

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