Sustainability in Healthcare

Kiran Hye studying Medicine talks to us about his RESS Special Studies Sustainability Project.

What is your favourite thing about the University of Leeds?

I like how big the university is and the variety of different people who attend/ live in Leeds. This is good for me as I enjoy (Pre-covid) going to the union to meet friends, socialise and getting to know new people. I like the design of the campus the green areas and how clean it is.

What is your project about?

My project is researching into how sustainability is achieved in a healthcare setting and what impact covid-19 has had on this.

My project supervisor is Kelly from Sustainability services at UoL. She had set up meetings with various people from within the uni to other sustainability services in Leeds – YAS and NHS.

Through these meetings, we have learned what is happening in healthcare to improve sustainability, how successful these projects are and different perspectives of them, from healthcare professionals to the sustainability officers.

The most important thing is the research into reusable facemasks and how this relates to sustainability in healthcare with covid-19, resulting in exponential consumption of single-use plastics in PPE. This research’s aim is to mitigate against this increase, with a more sustainable alternative.

This also links to UoL Sustainability Services – UoL share the aim to eliminate single-use plastics (#2023 Plastic Free Pledge), so are stakeholders for this research.

Where does your interest in sustainability stem from?

I have always been conscious of what I personally do for the environment. Whenever I went to the supermarket as a kid, I always wondered when the plastic packaging runs out, what happens then? When there are no more materials to make things in factories what happens then? Sustainability has become a bigger and bigger interest as well as a concern as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more aware of the environment and the impacts of everyday activities such as driving.
The more I have learned the more I have realised more needs to be done. It worries me deeply that either not enough people are aware of their environmental impact or too many people do not care about it. I think it so important as the environmental impact someone has does not just affect them, it affects every person and everything on the planet. Therefore, I have become so interested, to try to help raise awareness and even help educate people on how to lead more sustainable lives. So, it is really not optional to live unsustainably without having the appropriate education to justify why.

What are you most enjoying about your project?

I have enjoyed attending the meetings to see what is happening for sustainability. It has restored a lot of faith in me that other people out there, care for the environment and are actively doing something.

I have really enjoyed feeling like a part of something bigger than just myself as I feel I am doing something whilst the pandemic is in progress. I like to think that this project has given me a good starting point for post-pandemic action, as I feel there will be more that I can do at this point.

Why did you choose this project?

As mentioned, I am really passionate for the sustainability of the environment and I want to get as much education in place to be able to work towards a sustainable future. This project has provided me with background information and even shown me how to turn innovations into practice.

I also was interested to see what projects are currently underway within NHS and UoL for sustainability.

How has sustainability services supported you/ helped in this?

Kelly has been there to answer all my questions with regards to the project and even other things that I am interested in. Including looking over my presentation to give informal feedback.

I have felt like a proper member of the team and even asked to consider myself for the project an agent for UoL Sustainability services.

All our meetings had been organised for us so we had basically all we needed to get underway with this project.

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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Kiran’s RESS Special Studies Sustainability Project is linked to the following SDGs:

      • Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing
      • Goal 4:  Quality Education
      • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
      • Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
      • Goal 13: Climate Action

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.