Zvanaka S. Mazhandu, M. Belaid, Trust Nhubu
Nov 23, 2021
2021 9th International Renewable and Sustainable Energy Conference (IRSEC)
The global increase in plastic consumption has intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic. This review aims to highlight the potential impact of inadequate capacity for medical waste management during the pandemic phase, assess existing capacity in South Africa, and discuss the way forward. Key findings are; mismanaged medical waste can result in the secondary transmission of diseases and medical waste capacity can undoubtedly be compromised by outbreaks of diseases. South Africa is at a vantage point where it can learn from other countries such as China whose pre-Covid-19 capacities were overwhelmed by the surge in medical waste. With around 34.1% of households lacking waste collection services, the current medical waste management systems may not be fully adequate to handle the expected increase in waste as Covid-19 infections rise. To prevent challenges associated with poor waste management practices; as resources are channeled towards containing the Covid-19 pandemic, equal effort should also be directed towards increasing the country’s medical waste management capacity including transportation services and labour. A full audit of the systems across the country is required. Existing infrastructure that can be utilized, including cement kilns and furnaces, should be identified, while mobile incinerators will also be advantageous.