Medical waste linked to the millions of daily COVID-19 tests in China has become a significant environmental issue.
China is dependent on mass daily testing to support its zero-COVID policy, claiming that the approach will avoid a public health catastrophe, according to WION. The approach has created a staggering amount of hazardous waste and cultivated an ever-growing economic burden for local governments across China, who are forced to put tens of billions of dollars into funding the testing system, the outlet continued.
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“The sheer amount of medical waste that is being generated on a routine basis (is) at a scale that is practically unseen in human history,” New York University Shanghai environmental expert Yifei Li said, according to WION, “The problems are already becoming astronomical, and they will continue to grow even bigger.” (RELATED: Man Transported In Body Bag While Still Alive)
Beijing has previously attempted to position itself as a leader in environmentalism, and is attempting to go completely carbon neutral by 2060, according to Bloomberg. Mass-testing for COVID-19 is dampening that plan, as each test uses plastic resources, WION noted. Every positive case leads to a slew of used testing kits and personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, the outlet continued.
The U.N. told China in May that the zero-COVID strategy is unsustainable, NPR reported at the time. Similarly, it will take China an estimated $14.725 trillion over the next 30 years for China to achieve any form of carbon neutrality, according to ODI.