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Tashkent, April 22. Uzbekistan’s first COVID-19 case within the global pandemic was registered on March 15, 2020. Currently, the number of cases has increased to more than 1,600 across all regions of Uzbekistan. 

This number of cases is not as high as that of other countries, due to the decisive measures taken by the government of Uzbekistan to prevent the virus’s spread. Moreover, the government has implemented a nationwide quarantine, with one of the most important rules being the obligation to wear masks while outside. Additionally, the wider public is strongly advised to use disposal gloves while visiting grocery stores, in order to minimize the risk of infection. 

Studies from recent weeks have shown that the COVID-19 virus can exist on masks and gloves for 7 days. That is why it is crucial that they be safely and properly disposed of in public spaces, as well appropriately handled by authorized agencies responsible for waste disposal. 

That is why today the Accelerator Lab of UNDP Uzbekistan, in partnership with ‘Makhsustrans’ and the Makro supermarket chain, have launched an initiative for the safe collection and disposal of medical waste. This waste includes used masks, gloves, and other protective medical equipment.

An awareness-raising campaign will present information about the correct ways through which people can dispose of medical waste at collection locations in their neighborhoods, as well as at Makro supermarkets in Tashkent City after shopping.

In addition to that, the Accelerator Lab is launching a social video with animated information about the harmless and appropriate disposal of medical protective waste (including masks, gloves, wipes and disposable sanitizers), as well as the importance of social distancing while shopping. 

Special containers for the disposal of medical waste will be placed at the 32 Makro stores located across Tashkent City. After finishing shopping, people will be able to dispose the gloves provided by the supermarket and, if necessary, masks, napkins and hand sanitizer bottles. The containers can be identified by their blue color and their special informative logos. This will ensure the safe collection of waste materials.

Moreover, 150 large silver containers with specially-recognizable logos will be placed at waste collection locations in the neighborhoods of Tashkent. These will allow ‘Makhsustrans’ to safely dispose of waste in line with relevant guidelines. To ensure the greatest efficiency and coverage, these containers will be concentrated in the city’s most populated areas.

An essential part of this initiative will be the collection and analysis of data regarding the use of these containers, and the types of waste disposed by neighborhoods. 

The current initiative is part of a larger portfolio of practical measures developed by UNDP Uzbekistan, to help overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Fellow citizens, we encourage you to actively participate in our new initiative, which will protect you and improve your environment. 

Changing our behavior to meet today’s challenges will help us live in a healthier environment tomorrow. 

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