UNDP on December 2 kicked off a series of events to increase awareness and engage more than 3000 young people in Tajikistan in safe collection and disposal of personal protective equipment heavily being used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNDP Country Office in Tajikistan says the campaign, held in partnership with public organization “Peshsaf” and the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population (MoHSPP), mainly targets university students and is a part of UNDP’s effort to improve medical waste management practices among local citizens as well as medical institutions.

The pandemic reportedly has had a short-term positive impact on environment, including air and water quality, as the need for physical distancing and lockdowns caused reduced carbon emissions due to largest drop in demand for fossil fuels.  Yet, the COVID-19 crisis has also given unprecedented rise to use of PPE significantly increasing medical and hazardous waste.

The campaign includes a series of open lectures to be held in universities across the country to discuss ways to address COVID19 environmental hazards and waste management issues in Tajikistan.  The first lecture was reportedly hosted by the Russian-Tajik Slavonic University in Dushanbe, featuring a learning session on COVID19 environmental and public health threats, interactive live performance on appropriate and environmentally friendly medical waste management practices among citizens and informative quiz on COVID19 prevention and response measures.  Special labeled containers were handed over to facilitate improved practices for safe collection and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in line with relevant guidelines.

UNDP Addressing COVID-19 Environmental Hazards through Improving Medical Waste Management Project aims to support the Government in enhancing healthcare waste management system through, in particular, management of COVID-19 contaminated medical waste and reduce human and environmental impact of the pandemic.