The medical waste in hospitals and clinics across the island has gone up by 35% since the start of the COVID pandemic. The waste includes gloves, masks and rapid tests kits and the figures were given to the Environment Department by the three companies which collect medical waste in Cyprus, from the public and the private sector.
Head of the Department of Environment Costas Hadjipanayiotou told the Cyprus News Agency that there is a constant increase in the production of this waste and therefore instructions were given to be collected more often.
He said that this increase of medical waste and the fact that the places from where they are collected are few, the companies have increased their collection routes.
“These companies are working with a broader timetable so that they can respond to the increasing needs for collection and correct handling of this waste”, he said.
He explained that separate collection of used masks and gloves is not mandatory unless the Health Ministry decides otherwise and issues new instructions and clarifications.
Hadjipanayiotou said that so far, since the COVID crisis in our country, the Ministry with the assistance of specialists, issued instructions and we all have the responsibility to follow them. He added that these instructions and protocols are in place and need to be followed by all medical centers, clinics and hospitals.
Head of the Environment Department said that in pandemic situations issues related to health safety and hygiene are of utmost importance and we all need to adhere with the measures in place. He added that we frequently see used gloves and masks scattered in sidewalks, parks and other public places and it is a matter of raising awareness and educating the public on how to handle these issues.
“The media and the local authorities have access to the citizens and a role to play in issues related to pubic hygiene and they can contribute with the distribution of informative material, TV shows and articles in the press with the aim to raise awareness. The press and information office has also played a role to this end”, he said.