Developing infrastructure and strategies for properly disposing of the growing amount of medical waste brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge for nations worldwide. This article looks at the knowledge currently available and the practices now used in managing medical and healthcare waste around the world, especially in developing economies. It also looks at how dependent the generation rate of medical waste is on various socioeconomic and environmental factors.
- The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 abruptly worsened the already unsustainable growth in the development and handling of medical waste.
- The safe and sustainable management of medical waste, or waste from healthcare items, is a global problem because of environmental and public health risks.
- In order to create a circular flow of materials, this single-use model needs to be replaced by one in which designed items, particularly plastics, are sent back to the production stage after usage.
The development of technology in social networks, transportation, and business has helped the world economy grow. This has led to the growth of healthcare systems and a rise in medical supply and equipment demand (Bloom et al., 2018). Also (Minoglou et al., 2017), it is becoming more and more common in many countries for healthcare facilities to handle and throw away medical waste in the wrong way. According to the international organization, Health Care without Harm (HCWH), the healthcare industry is the fifth highest producer of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the world (Karliner et al., 2019). This is because the sector is responsible for 4.4% of the world’s net emissions. Healthcare waste management costs will rise from $11.77 billion in 2018 to $17.89 billion in 2026, which is a growth rate of 5.3% each year. Due to their rigorous governmental controls and the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, many economies in transition are predicted to considerably increase healthcare waste (Das et al., 2021). The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 abruptly worsened the already unsustainable growth in the development and handling of medical waste, posing an urgent threat that, if not securely and adequately managed, would explode into environmental pollution and a public health disaster (Peng et al.,2020; Singh et al., 2020a; Singh et al., 2020b).