The British Government plans to incinerate billions of pounds in unusable personal protective equipment hastily acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency that monitors public spending reported Friday.
The idea of incineration masks, gowns and other equipment to generate electricity was not well received by the supervisory committee. The panel investigates how the government spent £4bn ($5bn) on protective equipment that has to be thrown away because is faulty or does not meet British requirements.
The parliamentary committee on public accounts said the government planned to dispose of 15,000 pairs of equipment per month “via a combination of recycling and incineration to generate electricity.”
“The costs and environmental impact of disposing of surplus and unusable equipment are unclear,” he said.
Pat Cullen, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, a professional body for nurses, accused the government of “fume billions of pounds.”
The government assured that not all the equipment will be incinerated. The Health Department said only 670 million pounds ($835 million) worth of equipment was “unusable in any context”. He clarified that part of the surplus would be recycled for use by dentists or donated to public welfare organizations, transportation agencies and other countries.
In a report, the panel of public accounts concluded that the Department of Health lost 75 per cent of the 12 billion pounds spent on protective equipment in the first year of the pandemic, due to inflated prices and defective products.
Opposition Labor lawmaker Meg Hillier, who heads the panel, said the affair is “perhaps the most shameful episode in the British government’s response to the pandemic”.
In turn, Government Minister Robin Walker acknowledged this Friday that “mistakes were made” at the beginning of the pandemic, but argued that it was “a totally unprecedented situation” in which countries around the world were rushing to obtain equipment. during a health crisis.