• Tony Bosworth

RATs roll out for concession cardholders, as do free UV torches…it could be a waste issue or a boon

As the government-tax-payer-funded Rapid Antigen Test kits start to roll out for concession card holders, a Kurmond resident got in touch with us today concerned about the torches being supplied with each Hough kit, citing waste and asking how many millions of the small UV lights are going to end up in landfill.

“I’m concerned about the amount of waste being generated by the COVID pandemic. Most if it is unavoidable but some is just plain stupid,” said the resident who prefers not to be named.

The Hough kit - top - and one of the torches that comes with each of the company's packs

“I picked up 2 x 2 packs of the Government-supplied RATs for myself and my husband. In this case it is the Hough brand of test. What surprised me is that every pack has a little UV torch including battery, so that you can read the test result!

“How many millions of these torches are going to end up in landfill? Who decided to authorise the purchase of these stupid tests and why did they get approved by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) in the first place?” she asks.

“Particularly when there are so many others on the market not requiring a torch to read the result. So far I have 4 tests, and 2 torches.”

Fair points, we reckon but there is a use for the torches when it comes to animal shelters, as it happens. The UV lights can help find skin issues, blood and other problems around animals in the shelters or pounds, so donating them could be a possibility.

Similarly, vets normally have to buy the torches, so it could be an idea to donate them there.

In particular, the torches can help detect ringworm, which is a common skin infection often found in kittens. The UV beam glows a fluorescent green if there are ringworms present, for example.

And as one reader pointed out, schools could also find them useful for science projects, so while there is the potential for some huge waste issues as tens of thousands of kits go out complete with UV torches, there is also the opportunity for some good to come out of the situation.

Share your thoughts and experiences on the RATs roll-out in the comments, and we’d be interested to know how the program is working for you if you’re a concession-card holder.

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