UNDP joins hands with academia and civil society to engage youth in action against COVID-19 environmental risks

December 2, 2020

Dushanbe, 02 December 2020 – UNDP kicked off a series of events to increase awareness and engage more than 3000 young people in Tajikistan in safe collection and disposal of personal protective equipment heavily being used during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The campaign, held in partnership with public organization “Peshsaf” and Ministry of Health and Social Protection, mainly targets university students and is a part of UNDP’s effort to improve medical waste management practices among local citizens as well as medical institutions.

The pandemic has had a short-term positive impact on environment, including air and water quality, as the need for physical distancing and lockdowns caused reduced carbon emissions due to largest drop in demand for fossil fuels.  Yet, the COVID-19 crisis has also given unprecedented rise to use of PPE significantly increasing medical and hazardous waste.

The campaign includes a series of open lectures to be held in universities across the country to discuss ways to address COVID19 environmental hazards and waste management issues in Tajikistan. The first lecture was hosted by the Russian-Tajik Slavonic University in Dushanbe, featuring a learning session on COVID19 environmental and public health threats, interactive live performance on appropriate and environmentally friendly medical waste management practices among citizens and informative quiz on COVID19 prevention and response measures. Special labeled containers were handed over to facilitate improved practices for safe collection and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in line with relevant guidelines.

“The idea is not to prioritize environment over people or environment over progress or progress over people. It is more to find an equilibrium that allows us to move forward in a way that serves both the people and the planet,” - UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Christophoros Politis said in his opening remark.

UNDP "Addressing COVID-19 Environmental hazards through improving medical waste management project" aims to support the Government in enhancing healthcare waste management system through, in particular, management of COVID-19 contaminated medical waste and reduce human and environmental impact of the pandemic.