The COVID pandemic has generated hundreds of thousands of tons of medical waste!
The World Health Organization has warned that thousands of tonnes of waste generated by the COVID-19 pandemic pose a threat to human health and the environment. According to the WHO report, tens of thousands of tonnes of additional medical waste have placed a huge burden on medical waste management systems. Even if the pandemic ends soon, its effects will remain long-term, including when it comes to medical waste.
Additional waste "threatens human health and the environment and indicates the urgent need to improve waste managementSaid the UN Health Agency.
The report examines 1,5 billion units (approximately 87.000 tonnes) of personal protective equipment purchased between March 2020 and November 2021 and shipped to various countries through the UN system, which is a small part of the world's total medical waste.
In addition, more than 140 million test kits were delivered, which could generate 2.600 tons of non-infectious waste, mostly plastic, and 731.000 liters of chemical waste. The report states that approximately 97% of plastic waste is incinerated after testing. And the first 8 billion doses of vaccine worldwide generated 144.000 tons of additional waste, such as syringes, needles and protective boxes.
The report states that, in terms of volume, gloves account for the largest share of personal protective equipment waste of all items purchased and distributed by the UN.