Authorities are investigating how piles of used coronavirus rapid test kits ended up illegally dumped near a riverbed in Strovolos rather being properly disposed of by specialist companies, Environment Commissioner Klelia Vassiliou said on Monday.
Vassiliou, who went to the site again on Monday, told Alpha TV the incident was “unacceptable” but appeared to be isolated.
“There is a quantity of used rapid tests that has been dumped near the river in Strovolos. An investigation is underway. This is an unacceptable incident, but it appears to be isolated,” she said.
Strovolos municipality, the environment department and the health ministry were trying to identify who dumped the clinical waste so that those responsible are brought to account, she added.
The waste was spotted by a passerby late last week who alerted authorities.
Tens of thousands of rapid tests are carried out daily in Cyprus by rapid mobile units contracted by the government as part of efforts to monitor and contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Companies awarded contracts to carry out these tests must also enter into agreements with specialist companies to dispose of the waste. These agreements are checked by authorities when awarding the contract, the health ministry’s commissioner for clinical labs Karolina Stylianou said.
A yellow bag normally given by a specialist company to rapid testers was also found in the area. Stylianou said that based on this, and the batch number of the boxes, authorities are trying to identify who was involved.
The waste found is of a brand of rapid test that was last used in January, suggesting that the waste may have been dumped some time ago, she added.