The work of waste during COVID-19: logics of public, environmental, and occupational health

Garnett, Emma; Balayannis, Angeliki; Hinchliffe, Steve; Davies, Thom; Gladding, Toni and Nicholson, Phillip (2022). The work of waste during COVID-19: logics of public, environmental, and occupational health. Critical Public Health (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09581596.2022.2048632

Abstract

Waste has become a pivotal public health and environmental problem during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this interdisciplinary review, we move beyond the ‘coronalitter’ and ‘coronawaste’ discourses, which have come to dominate public imaginaries of waste, to consider less-visible dimensions of waste infrastructures and systems . We demonstrate how waste is coming to matter in new ways that offer opportunities for reconfiguring health research. By examining the literature addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on the geographies of waste, we shed light on how waste is being problematised and researched through logics of public, environmental, and occupational health. We argue that these logics structure understandings and practice, whilst drawing attention to the overlaps and limits that allow links across disciplinary silos and problem domains to be forged. Developing a multi-logics approach, the paper outlines a research agenda for approaching waste as a critical public health problem at a time of intersecting health crises.

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