Face Mask Consumption and Medical Waste Generation During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Iran: Challenges and Problems
Hooshyar Hossini, Sheida Atashkar, Tooraj Massahi
International Journal of Health and Life Sciences
The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused a devastating pandemic scenario in the world. The mortality rate has increased and new socio-economic challenges are emerging. Millions of gloves, gowns, face masks, and face shields are used daily to prevent airborne transmission and facilitate the treatment of COVID-19. Mismanagement of these wastes can lead to increased concerns due to their contamination potential. A comprehensive plan to improve the management of medical wastes in every country requires
... wareness of the current status of solid waste. As a result, the study aimed to calculate and estimate the consumption rate of face masks and medical waste generation rate during the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran. Also, the performance of different departments of medical waste management and future challenges are discussed. Methods: The daily consumption of face masks and medical waste generation were calculated based on the population data, the percentage of the urban population, face mask acceptance rate, the number of face masks needed per person per day, total COVID-19 confirmed cases, and medical waste generation rate (kg/bed/day). Results: The consumption of face masks in Iran is estimated at 46576000 pieces per day. Also, the three provinces of Tehran (9,560,000 pieces), Khorasan Razavi (3,825,600 pieces), and Isfahan (3,523,200 pieces) have the highest consumption rate of masks, respectively. Increasing the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased the medical waste generation rate. Until April 3, 2021, more than 1,920,394 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Iran, and calculations show that the medical waste generation rate in Iran is about 7,585.56 tons per day. Conclusions: COVID-19 is a highly infectious and problematic disease. The continuous increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased face mask consumption rate and medical waste generation rate, and as a result, new challenges have emerged in the field of solid waste management. These emerging challenges in managing solid waste during the COVID-19 pandemic necessitate the development of appropriate waste management policies and strategies.