Every two days, or even 24 hours, hundreds of millions of people in China have to do nucleic acid tests. The constant COVID testing creates a lot of medical waste and cuts the local government’s budget, which is already a financial problem.
Used test kits, face masks, and other safety gears are now posing a new trash challenge.
If biomedical waste isn’t thrown away properly, it can pollute the soil and water, which is bad for the environment and people’s health.
So far, there is not yet a national statistics. Still, Shanghai authorities brought an estimated 68,500 tons of medical waste during the lockdown, making it six times the amount of regular days.
Experts said that the ruling Communist Party‘s strategy creates a sea of dangerous waste and a mounting financial burden for local admins.
Yifei Li, an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at New York University Shanghai, shared his thoughts regarding the matter, “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.”
In cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Tianjin, there are several temporary testing sites where millions of people keep getting swabbed.
Beijing has urged provincial capitals and cities with populations of at least 10 million to establish a test site within 15 minutes of each citizen.
Jin Dong-yan, a Hong Kong University’s School of Biomedical Sciences Professor, blasted China for “very ineffective and costly” routine tests.
Jin Dong-yan said, “This will not work,” adding “It will just wash down millions of dollars into the sea.”
According to Jin, the more China keeps trying, the more they force governments to back away from other much-needed healthcare investments.