China managing medical waste, sewage properly amid COVID-19: ministry

Tens of thousands of tonnes of medical waste from the COVID-19 pandemic threaten human health and the environment, a WHO report warns, February 1, 2022. (Photo: CFP)

BEIJING, March 30 (Xinhua) -- China has managed medical waste and sewage in COVID-19 risk areas in a smooth and orderly manner, with sufficient disposal capacity, said the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) on Wednesday.

By the end of 2021, China was capable of treating around 2.15 million tonnes of medical waste per year through centralized disposal, a figure 39 percent greater than at the end of 2019, MEE Official Ren Yong told a press conference.

The country's emergency disposal capacity for medical waste is almost 2 million tonnes per year, Ren added.

The ministry has ensured the timely and effective collection and treatment of medical waste and sewage in the medium and high-risk areas for COVID-19, and has guided local governments to supervise sewage treatment in designated hospitals and urban sewage treatment plants.

At present, the daily disposal load rate for medical waste is below 50 percent in about 70 percent of medium-high risk city-level regions and municipalities, while the sewage treatment at designated hospitals and urban sewage treatment plants is running smoothly, Ren added.

The ministry has also strengthened source access management and promoted environmental risk control for toxic and harmful chemicals, such as persistent organic pollutants, endocrine disruptors, antibiotics and microplastics.