As a health charity with partners in 11 countries of Africa and Asia, we are mindful of the long-term environmental consequences of single-use masks, gloves and other protective items.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, if just 1% of face masks were disposed of incorrectly and dispersed in nature, this would result in as many as 10 million masks per month polluting the environment and contributing towards plastic in the world’s oceans. We are thus committed – when it is safely possible – to using reusable items.

This makes sustainable financial sense too.  Professor Rakesh Prasad (IMPACT Nepal’s Chair) told us; ‘In Nepal we cannot afford to discard PPEs after using it only once, as it is done in Western countries. But the issue is not only about expense, we have to consider the environmental impact of the actions we take today’.

One effective and environmentally-friendly method of sterilising Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in a low-resource setting is by ultraviolet rays. So we are installing UV Sterilising Machines in IMPACT Nepal’s five Primary Ear Care Centres, providing medics with the means to safely reuse PPE and ensuring that IMPACT can continue to provide ear care to the poorest people, whilst adhering to strict infection control protocols.