COVID: Clinical waste increased by 111.94% – Ahmad Masrizal

By BERNAMA

Clinical waste such as disposable plastics, rubber gloves and insulation gowns used by frontliners at health facilities have so far increased by 111.94 per cent compared to Dec 2019, which is before the COVID-19 pandemic took place in the country.

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

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

He said the Ministry of Environment and Water (KASA) through the Department of Environment (DOE) and related agencies had taken steps to overcome the constraints of waste disposal efficiency, but there was still a backlog of clinical waste to dispose of.

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

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

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

He said KASA was also aware of the increase in waste in areas subjected to the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO), and this also required more thorough and organised waste management to prevent secondary infection among staff.

Ahmad Masrizal said the clinical waste would continue to increase if more people were infected with COVID-19, therefore he called on the community to stay at home to prevent its spread.