Emerging challenges in urban waste management in Tehran, Iran during the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors: Ali Darya Beigi Zand, Azar Vaezi Heir

Tehran, the capital and the most urbanized city of Iran with a population of 8693,706 is one of the largest cities in West Asia and the 21st largest city in the world. The average municipal solid waste (MSW) generation rate is 0.745 kg/capita/day in Iran, with the highest rate of up to 1000–۱۲۰۰ kg/capita/day in Tehran. The quantity of the solid waste generated in Tehran is estimated to be more than 7500 tonnes per day. COVID-19 outbreak has changed the quantity and composition of solid wastes in Tehran City. In Iran, the use of personal protective equipments (PPE) such as facemasks has been recommended by the Iran’s National Headquarters for Managing Coronavirus (INHMC) for all people. The INHMC was formed by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education to prevent or control the outbreak of Coronavirus in Iran. A large amount of these PPE is daily used in Tehran during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of such recommendations. On average ca. 32% of the residents of Tehran have accepted to use PPEs during the pandemic that is pretty low in the context of the spread of the viral disease. The estimated figures of facemasks and single-use plastic gloves discarded daily in Tehran based on the two scenarios (i.e. according to the legislation situation) are presented in Table 1 . The highest amount of the facemask wastes were generated during March 2020 (10.78 million per day). Table 1 indicates that legislation will considerably increase discarded facemasks. Discarded materials including contaminated PPEs can exacerbate environmental and health problems, if not managed properly. Such threats would be much higher in developing nations with poor waste management strategies. For instance, garbage trucks in Tehran are mainly equipped with compactors which enable them to collect more wastes. Compaction of wastes is economically attractive for waste collection contractors; however, high moisture content of the collected wastes mostly result in overflow of the leachate from garbage trucks that is a very common in Tehran. Viruses may persist in landfill leachates for days to months (EPA, 2016).

تاریخ انتشار اولیه: ۲۴ تیر ۱۳۹۹
تاریخ رصد: ۱۶ مرداد ۱۳۹۹

 

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