Medical waste in Ukraine


Due to the disruption of logistics caused by the war, Ukraine produces significant amounts of untreated medical waste, which poses a threat to the environment and water supply.  Some hospitals still mix municipal waste and hazardous waste. Waste is usually treated in hydroclaves or incinerators, but not all waste is treated properly. There is also a need to build capacity and develop concrete guidelines for the prevention and management of medical waste to ensure consistent and appropriate management of medical waste. Poor and inappropriate management and disposal practices in the handling and disposal of medical waste pose significant health and environmental hazards due to the infectious nature of the materials and the unpleasant odor of the waste. 

Currently, just over 1% of this waste is incinerated and ends up as environmentally safe ash. The rest is buried somewhere in 6,000 legal and 33,000 illegal landfills across the country. 

Medical waste is generated all the time as part of health care. In times of war, they increase significantly. The variety is considerable and includes sharps, human tissue or body parts, and a wide range of infectious material. The current scale and scope of the problem in Ukraine is rather unclear at the moment, there are no specific statistics. Therefore, the main objective of the Ukraine-MEDWASTE project is: 

To analyze the amount and types of medical waste generated in a sample of hospitals in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk (approx. 230,000 inhabitants) as a pilot site, and to identify options for the special handling, transportation and disposal of this waste, as well as for the recycling of plastic waste. 

German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt DBU)

Project Team:

Tetiana Lisovska, Maria Fedoruk, Jasmin Röseler, Caterina Baars