Pyrolysis: An effective technique for degradation of COVID-19 medical wastes

Selvakumar Dharmaraj, Veeramuthu Ashokkumar, Rajesh Pandiyan, Heli Siti Halimatul Munawaroh, Kit Wayne Chew, Wei Hsin Chen, Chawalit Ngamcharussrivichai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


COVID-19 has led to the enormous rise of medical wastes throughout the world, and these have mainly been generated from hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare establishments. This creates an additional challenge in medical waste management, particularly in developing countries. Improper managing of medical waste may have serious public health issues and a significant impact on the environment. There are currently three disinfection technologies, namely incineration, chemical and physical processes, that are available to treat COVID-19 medical waste (CMW). This study focuses on thermochemical process, particularly pyrolysis process to treat the medical waste. Pyrolysis is a process that utilizes the thermal instability of organic components in medical waste to convert them into valuable products. Besides, the technique is environmentally friendly, more efficient and cost-effective, requires less landfill capacity, and causes lower pollution. The current pandemic situation generates a large amount of plastic medical wastes, which mainly consists of polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate, and nylon. These plastic wastes can be converted into valuable energy products like oil, gas and char through pyrolysis process. This review provides detailed information about CMW handling, treatment, valuable product generation, and proper discharge into the open environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130092
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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