The NHS is a ‘significant polluter’ producing 590,000 tonnes of waste a year – more than some European countries!
The Government’s chief medical adviser has called the NHS a “significant polluter” after her annual report revealed the health service creates 590,000 tonnes of waste a year – more than the entire municipal waste from some European countries like Cyprus and Luxembourg. Professor Dame Sally Davies said healthcare organisations create “huge amounts” of waste and that the NHS, the world’s fifth largest employer, must do more to cut its pollutant footprint While the report recognises that medical care involves “some pollution”, it adds that the World Health Organisation estimates that 75-90 per cent of waste from healthcare facilities is non-hazardous. The remaining may be infectious or biohazardous and needs to be disposed of in a specific way.
Dame Sally said: “Everybody has a role to play in cutting pollution but the NHS has more than a million staff, accounts for one in 20 vehicles on the road and is a big user of single-use disposable plastics. Some trusts are already blazing a trail and I urge others to follow.”