“According to WHO, 87,000 tons of PPE were accumulated from March 2020 to November 2021 in order to fight COVID-19. Most of it has gone to waste. The unprecedented injection campaign also created 143,000 tons of waste from syringes, needles and safety boxes, which pose a risk to people living in communities near poorly managed landfills and waste disposal sites.
A WHO global analysis of health care waste due to COVID-19 also found that more than 140 million tests kits may generate 2,600 tons of noninfectious — mostly plastic — waste, while “731,000 liters of chemical waste (equivalent to one-third of an Olympic-size swimming pool) have been shipped.”23 In the U.K., nearly 5 billion PPE items, worth nearly $3.4 billion, will also be wasted because they’re no longer needed or aren’t suitable for use.
“In terms of the waste generated by the public, in particular masks. For example, in 2020, there were 4.5 trillion additional disposable masks thrown away by the public, which led to 6 million tons of additional waste. So, certainly, the public is generating the most. At the same time, we feel that the health sector has a really important role and there are many concrete things that can be done to reduce, unnecessary use of PPE.”