Sunday, 26 June, 2022
HomeHealthCovid response has generated thousands of tonnes of extra medical waste in...

Covid response has generated thousands of tonnes of extra medical waste in health threat: WHO

To get a sense of the scope of the issue, WHO examined the fate of 87,000 metric tonnes of PPE that were shipped via a UN initiative between March 2020 and November 2021.

Text Size:

Zurich: The response to the pandemic has produced tens of thousands of tons of extra medical waste, challenging disposal systems and threatening human health and the environment, according to a World Health Organization report.

To get a sense of the scope of the problem, the WHO examined the fate of 87,000 metric tons of personal protective equipment, such as rubber gloves and masks, that were shipped around the world through a United Nations emergency initiative between March 2020 and November 2021. Most of that equipment ended up as waste, the UN agency said.

The initiative also shipped 140 million testing kits, generating 2,600 tons of non-infectious waste that was mostly plastic, and 731,000 liters of chemical waste. The billions of vaccine doses that have been administered globally have produced 144,000 tons of additional waste in the form of syringes, needles, and safety boxes, the WHO said.

The overall issue is likely to be much worse, because the WHO estimates don’t take products into account that were procured outside its emergency initiative, nor littering by the public of disposable masks.

About a third of healthcare facilities aren’t equipped to deal with existing waste loads, the WHO said. Overwhelmed waste systems, especially in lower-income nations, mean that health-care workers face the risk of needle injuries and burns, as well as exposure to pathogenic microorganisms, the WHO said. People residing near poorly managed landfills and waste disposal sites are at risk of contaminated air and poor water quality. –Bloomberg


Also read: India set to present budget topping $500 billion, sustain recovery from pandemic disruptions


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular

×