LettersClarity needed on how to safely dispose of used rapid antigen test kits
- Readers discuss the potential health and environmental risks of used self-test kits for Covid-19, seniors struggling with contradictory information, and the UN agreement on curbing plastic pollution
According to Miriam Diamond, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Toronto, used RAT kits are considered biohazardous waste and should be disposed of at authorised disposal sites because they contain biological materials collected from the nose. Also, certain chemicals included in these test kits could be hazardous.
Used RAT kits may contain the Covid-19 virus. If they are disposed of as municipal solid waste, it could expose the virus to the environment and the people handling the waste.
Shouldn’t used kits be considered clinical waste? According to the Waste Disposal Ordinance, clinical waste means “waste consisting of any substance, matter or thing belonging to any of the groups specified in Schedule 8” that is generated in connection with, among other things, medical practice.
Schedule 8 of the ordinance lists a group of infectious materials including the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) coronavirus. The Delta and Omicron variants of Covid-19, which may be more dangerous than the Sars virus, are not included in this list.
I think the Environmental Protection Department should clarify which kind of waste used RAT kits belong to and provide us with the proper disposal procedures for them.
Felix Mak, Kowloon Bay
Seniors left confused by lack of clarity
We glued ourselves to government press releases and were comforted to know that areas where cases were discovered had been locked down. But later, we heard that tens of thousands of people had actually been infected.
Our children are worried about our movements, so we use the HealHK app to check the list of buildings with confirmed cases. We check to see which district tea shop is safe for us to have afternoon tea.
We felt relieved when we saw only a small number had been infected, but by evening reports said tens of thousands have been infected. Either our understanding of technology is poor or our experience is outdated.
Lal Daswani, Tsim Sha Tsui
Landmark treaty to curb plastic pollution is our cue to act
The mandate is expected to cover the plastics life cycle from design and production to disposal. There will be opportunities for chemical firms to revisit their production and shift gears to curb single-use plastic pollution. Governments, firms and consumers should seek to do the same or better, increasing their use of alternative, environmental-friendly materials.
Business needs to embrace a holistic, “cradle-to-grave” approach to create positive impacts. It is a testing time for leadership in an environment characterised by vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
The world needs to reset for a climate-friendly, life- and people-centric world order. People from around the world have cast their votes of support. While UN member states will negotiate the terms of the treaty, it is high time for the rest of us to get ready.
Dr Edmund Lee, general manager and head of group ESG initiatives; and Dr Brian Li, vice-chairman, Gold Peak Industries (Holdings) Ltd