WASTE MANAGEMENT IN COVID-19 TIME – A CROATIAN EXPERIENCE
Background: The current pandemic of the new coronavirus, COVID-19 raises questions and challenges regarding municipal waste management procedures, with special emphasis on safety and health measures for utility company employees as well as for citizens. Two sectors are extremely important during the pandemic - waste management in hospitals and from households where COVID-19 was detected. The World Health Organization has prescribed recommendations that take effect immediately and relate to this crisis, but how effective are these measures? Time that is ahead of us will show the results. The fact is that this pandemic will slow down a lot’s of activities in the waste management sector, but in the future we should focus on making the system we are building flexible for extreme situations such as this one.
Aim: To analyze flexibility of Croatian waste management system in time of pandemic
Methods: A semi-structured interview was used as a research instrument. The research procedure included several phases: interview preparation, interview conduction, transcription, and data analysis. The preparation of the interview included a detailed analysis of the literature and available research related to the research problem, as well as an analysis of other secondary information.Results: Based on the analysis of the results of research conducted at several locations in Croatia, it is shown that the existing system has corresponding shortcomings. They are manifested in a lack of caution when handling COVID-19 waste materials. Lack of infrastructure for COVID-19 waste management and slowness of the whole system directly involved in solving this waste management issues. Conclusion(s): The question remains how ready we are for such and similar situations. Analyzing the waste management system in the Republic of Croatia and our infrastructure, which in some parts of our country is quite modest, the question arises whether we can learn something from this situation. Do we have the capacity, desire and will of the public to finally understand how we need a crisis response system, especially with regard to the safe disposal of waste? The Republic of Croatia, like some EU countries, cannot prescribe the measure of incineration of waste generated by infected persons because it does not have any incinerators or thermal treatment plants. On the contrary, the competent ministry is silent, and local self-government units prescribe measures to keep waste for 3 days in double plastic bags. Is this good enough?
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