Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Clinical waste up by 111.94% since pandemic, says deputy minister

Ahmad Masrizal Mohamad says clinical waste will increase to 173.25 tonnes per month within the next 12 months if the pandemic continues.

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Clinical waste such as disposable plastics, rubber gloves and insulation gowns used by frontliners at health facilities has increased by 111.94% compared to December 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country.

Deputy Environment and Water Minister Ahmad Masrizal Mohamad said the volume of clinical waste would continue to increase to 173.25 tonnes per month within the next 12 months if the pandemic continues.

“This is considered a significant figure that could threaten the earth’s greenery and environmental sustainability if not managed properly,” he said in a statement today.

He said the environment and water ministry through the Department of Environment (DoE) and related agencies had taken steps to overcome the constraints of waste disposal efficiency, but added that there was still a backlog of clinical waste.

Masrizal said so far, 12 incinerators, four microwaves and one ozonator had been licensed nationwide to manage “SW 404” scheduled waste with a total capacity of 5,168.05 tonnes. He said this was still able to accommodate the current clinical waste generation of 4394.37 tonnes.

He said the ministry also welcomed private health facilities interested in managing clinical waste in Malaysia to contact it or the DoE.

He said operating hours and disposal capacity at the clinical material disposal plant had also been extended and enhanced to accommodate the increase.

He said the ministry was also aware of the increase in waste in areas subjected to enhanced movement control order, which would require more thorough and organised waste management to prevent secondary infection among staff.

Masrizal said clinical waste would continue to increase if more people are infected with Covid-19, and urged the community to stay at home to prevent its spread.

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