Since the coronavirus first spread around the globe in 2002, tens and thousands of tonnes have been accumulated.
The World Health Organization (WHO), has warned everyone that the huge amount of waste generated by efforts to combat the COVID-19 epidemic poses a threat for both humans and the environment.
The worldwide fallout of COVID
They sent more that 140 million test kit capable of producing 2,600 tonnes non-infectious (mostly plastic) waste and 731,000 liters chemical waste. Additionally, more than eight billion doses vaccine have been injected throughout the world. This resulted in an additional 144,000 tonnes waste in the form syringes/needles and safe containers.
A new report by the United Nations Health Organization was published last Tuesday, February 1, according to the WHO.
The 71-page document revealed that the 87,000 tonnes (or private protecting equipment) ordered via a United Nations portal from March 2020 to November 2021 ended as waste.
As per AljazeeraOver a hundred and forty millions test kits have been shipped. This means that there is the potential to produce 2,600 tonnes of primarily polyethylene and enough chemical waste to fill an Olympic-sized pool.
Garbage mainly made from plastic is dangerous for the environment and human health. It is important to improve garbage management practices.
(Photo : Akshan Forouzani/Unsplash)
Published March 18, 2020, a man wearing a facemask
According to the United NationsAs the UN and the countries are faced with the urgent task of securing the supply of PPE, less attention has been paid to the sustainable and safe management of this waste.
Today, 30% of healthcare facilities (or 60% in the least developed countries), are not equipped to handle existing waste, as well as additional waste.
According to the WHO, this could lead to healthcare professionals being exposed to needle injury, burns, or pathogenic microorganisms.
Poorly managed landfills or communities near landfills can lead to poor water quality, pollution, and even death from disease-carrying insects.
Aljazeera reports that Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization emergency director, stated that “It is vitally important to provide health workers the right PPE.” It is important to ensure that the PPE can be safely used without causing any damage to the environment.
Dr. Maria Neira, World Health Organization’s Director of Environment, Climate Change and Health, stated that COVID-19 forced the world to consider the gaps and neglected parts of the waste stream, and how they produce, consume, and discard our health care resources, from cradle through grave.
Less waste, more eco-friendly
The United Nations report included several recommendations. These included sustainable packaging and shipping, safe and reusable PPE made of recycled or biodegradable material, investment in non-combustible wastewater treatment technologies, and recycling to give materials like plastic a second chance.
“Safe and rational use of PPE can reduce environmental harm from waste, as well as save money, reduce supply shortages, and further support infection prevention through changing behavior,” Dr. Anne Woolridge, chair of the Health CareWasteWorking Group noted.
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