Since June, the Chinese government has ordered large cities with populations of more than 10 million to establish nucleic acid testing points within a 15-minute walk, and individuals must undergo nucleic acid testing every 48 hours.

According to The Paper outlet, 200,000 nucleic acid tests produce one ton of medical waste.

Since March 1, Shanghai has collected, transported, and disposed of 68,500 tons of medical waste. Luo Hailin, the head of the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Ecology and Environment, stated in a press conference on May 30 that the amount of medical waste in Shanghai has reached more than 1,400 tons per day at its peak, six times more than before the pandemic.

Li Yifei, an environmental expert at New York University in Shanghai, told AFP that the amount of medical waste produced is unprecedented in human history, and this serious problem will continue to get worse.

Fatal risks of medical waste

A huge amount of medical waste burdens transportation, disposal, and finances and poses a possible cause of secondary infection to humans and the environment.

The head nurse at a Tianjin hospital, pen name Wang Yan told Da Ji Yuan, that people are suffering from different conditions during large-scale nucleic acid examinations. If waste is not handled correctly, it might spread contagious diseases.

According to Li Yanming, a political analyst with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Doctor of Biology, if these medical wastes are not properly handled, they will undoubtedly damage the soil and water supplies, posing a catastrophic risk to the ecological environment.

In 2014, Zhejiang University conducted a study that found that dioxin in air ash from medical waste incineration was six times higher than that in pathological waste. 

Moreover, this process emits highly poisonous chemicals and acid gasses such as sulfur dioxide and toxic heavy metals such as mercury.

Yang Guiyuan, a former doctor of Medicine at Guangzhou First Military Medical University, stated that in addition to cremation, medical waste is also disposed of in landfills. However, there is a risk that medical waste would become soaked during the rainy season and permeate the soil, causing contamination.

Outside world doubts China’s medical waste disposal method

Yang stated that medical waste is subjected to stringent treatment procedures. It must be disinfected and treated using specialized vehicles. Furthermore, after ending their duties, staff who gather medical waste must take a bath and disinfect themselves.

Yu, a resident of Beijing’s Chaoyang District, claimed in an interview with China City News that his community was briefly closed because of the severe epidemic. However, he discovered that waste from nucleic acid tests was directly stacked near garbage cans and was not collected.

According to China City News, some employees threw used protective clothes in residential waste where it piled up in the open air at any nucleic acid testing sites. This waste was also dumped in the countryside.

Medical waste turned into daily necessities and toys

The CCTV revealed in March 2019 that there is a widespread black industrial chain of medical waste in China. On the Chinese market, disposable tableware, beverage cups, and toys are constructed of medical waste.

Because of the inexpensive raw materials and low pricing, the owner of a medical waste treatment plant said that dinnerware and milk tea cups created from medical waste are quickly sold-out to low-cost eateries.

CCTV reported that several factories in Henan, Shandong, and Shanxi unlawfully use medical waste to make recycled rubber particles. The video shows numerous old medical supplies heaped up like mountains in one of the factories, including used infusion tubes, leftover-medicine infusion bags, blood storage bags with blood-stained, urine bags, and so on.

According to Sundaykiss, a Hong Kong parenting information site, medical waste is a terrible killer. It may contain dozens to thousands of times the number of germs found in conventional household garbage, as well as contagious bacteria, viruses, chemical pollutants, radiation, and other dangerous chemicals. 

An anonymous source told Da Ji Yuan that the output of these black workshops is astounding. In Shanxi, one factory can process 20 to 30 tons of medical waste each month.

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.