Barcelona Investigates Dumping Of Contaminated Covid Waste

The Public Prosecutor is investigating the incidents of the tipping of contaminated waste reported by the Guardia Civil in Barcelona. CREDIT: Twitter

The Environmental Prosecutor’s Office of Barcelona is investigating three incidents where used sanitary masks and other Covid waste from hospitals and care homes were dumped, one of which was in an open-air rubbish site.  

The investigation wants to determine the circumstances of the tipping of the contaminated waste and why waste disposal protocols were apparently not followed in these cases.

When disposing of this kind of waste, the contaminated items must be transported in special, closed vehicles, not regular rubbish trucks, as it cannot mix with other types of waste, as seems to have happened in one of the cases being investigated where the waste was simply thrown into an open-air dumpsite.

According to the Prosecutor, if the incidents reported by the Guardia Civil are confirmed, those responsible could be found to have committed a crime against natural resources and even against workers’ rights, for having exposed workers to contaminated waste without adequate protection.

Managing contaminated waste has become overwhelming for many Spanish communities during the coronavirus pandemic. Communities such as Madrid, Catalonia, Asturias and Castilla and Leon estimate that healthcare waste has skyrocketed in their territory, increasing by around 300% in volume since the start of the pandemic.

According to the Catalan Waste Agency (ARC), the community usually generates about 3,300 tons per year, but during the first weeks of confinement, the accumulation of healthcare waste shot up to 1,200 tons, 925 tons more than the usual amount.

 

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Written by

Eleisha Kennedy

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