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World generated 200,000 tons of medical waste due to COVID-19: WHO

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World generated 200,000 tons of medical waste due to COVID-19: WHO by : 5:50 pm On February 1, 2022

World generated 200,000 tons of medical waste due to COVID-19: WHO

More than 200,000 tons of medical waste, much of it plastic waste, has accumulated worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, says the World Health Organisation (WHO).

COVID-19 has forced the world to reckon with the gaps and neglected aspects of the waste stream and how we produce, use and discard of our health care resources, from cradle to grave,’’ said Maria Neira, head of the environment, climate change, and health at the WHO.

WHO estimated that the billions of vaccinations since the beginning of the pandemic have generated at least 144,000 tons of used needles, syringes, and collection containers.

In addition, 87,000 tons of protective clothing were delivered by the United Nations between March 2020 and November 2021 alone.

COVID-19 tests contain up to 2,600 additional tons of waste and 731,000 litres of chemical waste.

Meanwhile, protective masks for private use were not included in the estimates, WHO said further.

The organisation called for strategies to protect people and the environment from poorly disposed of protective suits, test kits, and vaccination paraphernalia.

Even before the pandemic, the WHO had warned that a third of all health care facilities were not able to dispose of their waste properly.

The additional COVID-19-related waste poses a health and environmental risk to medical workers and people living near landfills, it said. 

(dpa/NAN)

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