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Jakarta Post

'Ticking bomb': Indonesia grapples with medical waste spike during pandemic

  • Ardila Syakriah
    Ardila Syakriah

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Sun, November 15, 2020   /  02:05 pm
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Members of enviromental group Bank Sampah Sungai Cisadane (Banksasuci) collect medical waste from the Cisadane River in Tangerang, Banten, on Aug. 2.(Reuters/Willy Kurniawan)

Indonesia is grappling with what health authorities have described as a “significant increase” in medical waste during the COVID-19 outbreak, with a shortage in processing facilities forcing the government to allow hospitals to burn their waste without license in times of emergency. Environment and Forestry Ministry Director General for Waste Management Rosa Vivien Ratnawati said the volume of medical waste spiked by between 30 and 50 percent over the course of the epidemic, which was first detected in Indonesia in early March. As of Oct. 15, the country had produced 1,662.75 tons of waste related to COVID-19, she said. Jakarta alone reported that it has handled 860 kilograms of disposable masks throughout the outbreak. Indonesia -- home to about 3,000 hospitals, as well as community health centers and clinics each totaling more than 10,000 -- produced some 295 tons ...