China's Widespread Testing of Coronavirus Creating a Sea of Toxic Waste
An increase in COVID cases has been reported recently in China, where the coronavirus was first discovered in 2019. In response to the sudden increase in cases and new outbreaks, officials implemented severe social isolation guidelines, a rigid quarantine policy, and an almost never-ending round of mass testing.
Mass testing appears to be a major issue right now. According to an AFP study, health staff in China are testing millions of people's throats each day with plastic swabs, which is becoming a major environmental problem in the country.
To avoid a public health catastrophe, China is relying on mass testing as part of its zero-COVID policy. Local governments will have to spend tens of billions of dollars on funding the system, according to experts, which will result in a sea of hazardous material.
"The sheer amount of medical waste that is being generated on a routine basis (is) on a scale that is practically unseen in human history," said Yifei Li, an environmental studies expert at New York University Shanghai.
"The problems are already becoming astronomical, and they will continue to grow even bigger," he told AFP.
To demonstrate its commitment to environmental leadership, Beijing has taken vigorous measures to reduce air and water pollution while also aiming to achieve carbon neutrality in its economy by the year 2060.
As a result, the new garbage dilemma posed by widespread testing for the coronavirus has emerged. Each positive case was followed by a trail of used test kits, face masks, and other personal protective gear.
Inadequate disposal of biomedical waste can pose serious environmental and human health risks.