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Increased Hospital Waste In Iran Poses Challenge Amid Coronavirus Epidemic


Hospital waste has considerably increased in Iranian cities since the coronavirus outbreak. March 29, 2020.

An official of Tehran Municipality on Monday said the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic has increased hospital and municipal waste in Tehran by at least 20 and 2,000 metric tons respectively per day in the past two weeks.

Speaking to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) on Wednesday Sadreddin Alipour, Waste Management Director of Tehran municipality, said the city has had to upgrade its waste collection fleet to deal with the huge increase in waste.

Hospital and municipal waste have considerably increased in other Iranian cities such as Mashhad, Tabriz and Rasht due to the huge number of patients and also an increase in the use of disposable food containers, city officials say.

According to Alipour, the jump in new Coronavirus cases is clearly reflected in hospital waste increase in recent weeks. Before the outbreak hospitals in Tehran produced between 60 to 80 metric tons of waste per day but in the past two weeks the daily hospital waste to be disposed of has increased to 100 tons per day, he said.

"One of our problems in the early days of the outbreak was collecting gloves and masks left by people in public areas which put the lives of municipal waste collectors at risk but after an extensive information campaign the situation has somehow improved," he said and added that the waste management department is trying to protect the workers involved in the collection and burial of hospital waste.

Meanwhile, Reza Karami-Mohammadi, Head of Crisis Management Organization of Tehran and a member of the Coronavirus Management Committee of the city, said waste is collected and disposed twice daily now and all hospital waste is buried according to the protocols dictated by the Health Ministry at Arad Kouh in the south of the capital.

Arad Kouh Complex Waste Process and Disposal Center has been in use as the receiver of the waste from the capital since 1976. The waste depot has been blamed for a mysterious stench that sometimes hits the capital Tehran, particularly in winter.

According to a municipal official of Arak, a city hard-stricken by coronavirus, hospitals in the city use autoclave devices to disinfect their waste and the waste from convalescence centers for coronavirus patients is transferred to hospitals for disinfection by autoclave devices. All hospital waste is treated with chlorine and quick lime (calcium oxide) powder before being buried in landfills, he said.

In Iran quick lime is also extensively used in burial of bodies of those passing away from infectious diseases.

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    Maryam Sinaiee

    Maryam Sinaiee is a British-Iranian journalist, political analyst and former correspondent of The National, who contributes to Radio Farda.

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