Human beings constantly generate waste throughout their life-cycle after consuming and using their daily needs. Left-over, by-products, used items and many more unwanted materials will be thrown out in trash bins or industrial dumpsters in liquid, solid, organic, recyclable and hazardous formats. Management of waste is a very important aspect that needs to be addressed by every country in order to reduce potential negative environmental, economic, health, and social consequences.
This is especially true if we consider hazardous biologic waste generated by medical hospitals, healthcare clinics, research laboratories and other facilities which treat human beings or animals from diseases and illnesses. Nowadays it becomes even more relevant in case of potentially infections biologic waste generated after treatment of the COVID-19 patients. Negligence and mismanagement of the hazardous and infection waste may impact far beyond boundaries of one single country stretching regionally and globally.
In order to complement the national efforts of the partner countries of the Regional Secretariat for South East and Eastern Europe (SEEE) region, a series of webinars were organized within the framework of the European Union’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigating Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative. These webinars allowed to exchange the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to discuss and share with peers and learn from each other’s experiences, professional insights in thematic subjects.
The 9th online webinar was welcomed by the Head of the Regional Secretariat for South East and Eastern Europe region Ms. Mari Lursmanashvili. In her opening remarks Ms. Lursmanashvili pointed out that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, nine online webinars were conducted by the Regional Secretariat for South East and Eastern Europe in close cooperation with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (EU JRC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), national public health institutions, respective ministries and agencies in charge of the national and international response, research laboratories and project consortia members.
Besides the complementary webinar opportunities, the SEEE region is implementing project 67 on strengthening CBRN waste management capabilities in South-East and Eastern European countries. This project is funded by the European Union within the framework of the CBRN CoE Initiative. The project is aimed to strengthen and harmonize regulatory framework of CBRN waste management, improve the legal framework (regulations and good practices), establish sustainable national training program for competencies and enhance the technical capabilities of beneficiary countries.
Mr. Thomas Pottage, Team Leader in the Biosafety, Air and Water Microbiology group at Public Health England, United Kingdom (UK) and EU CBRN CoE Project 67 key expert on Biological Waste Management was invited to speak about the management of SARS-CoV-2 waste generated from different settings. He underlined the background to the problem of waste management and shared best practices in handling SARC-CoV-2 waste in healthcare facilities, laboratories, residential and other areas that ore in charge of the management of such waste. He also addressed issues related to the improper waste management and provided useful reference sources from the World Health Organization, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and relevant governmental authorities of the United Kingdom.
More than one hundred international experts and participants from all different regions involved in the EU CBRN CoE Initiative participated in this online webinar. The 9th Online Webinar was held on 25 May 2021 and moderated by UNICRI’s Regional Coordinator, Mr. Talgat Toleubayev, in close cooperation with the staff of the EU CBRN CoE Projects P67 and P53, which provided simultaneous interpretation and the communication platform.