A sanitation worker disinfects bags containing waste facial masks in Haikou, south China's Hainan Province, Feb. 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Guo Cheng)
China saw rising demand for medical waste treatment as the output of such waste soared amid the combat against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the China Securities Journal reported.
Newly-added medical waste is expected to total 179,000 tonnes nationwide in 2020 including 162,000 tonnes of used masks, surging over 25 percent from 2018, according to Ping An Securities.
Faced with the rising amount of medical waste, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment stressed separate treatment of infectious medical waste, safe transfer of the waste and reinforcement in emergency management.
The country's efforts also strengthened at the local level. Statistics showed that the medical waste disposal capacity in Hubei Province stands at 317.5 tonnes per day, a notable increase of 137.5 tonnes per day from before the outbreak.
The disposal capacity in Wuhan has almost doubled, with the total amount of disposed medical waste reaching 1,123.8 tonnes since Jan. 20.
Guangdong Province requires separate transfer of waste from designated medical institutions, quarantine locations and households.
Northeastern Liaoning Province urged the collection of used marks, setting up 36,000 facilities for mask disposal.
China's environmental enterprises beefed up operations to deal with the waste, with the average daily treatment capacity of Dongjiang Environmental Co., Ltd. rising 30 percent to 40 percent in the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
China Tianying Inc. obtained patents related to plasma gasification and almost completed a project capable of treating 3 tonnes of medical waste each day.
Two waste-to-energy plants of Yonker Environmental Protection Co., Ltd. kept running at full capacity in February and the company has increased investment in the industry.
The industry is likely to grow fast in the post-epidemic period, China Galaxy Securities Co., Ltd. said, citing the potential of improvement in construction cost of treatment facilities and market concentration.
Changjiang Securities also appreciated the prospect of the industry, expecting development at the county and township level.