PB reminds public: Disposing protective gear properly is ‘equally important’
LGUs urged to educate public in observing proper disposal of these items and other potentially infectious wastes
CEBU CITY, Philippines — While wearing of face masks is mandatory as part of the established health protocols against the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Cebu Provincial Capitol reminded the public that disposing the protective gear properly is “equally important.”
With this, the Cebu Provincial Board, on Monday, August 10, 2020, adopted the resolution of Board Member John Ismael Borgonia, urging all local government units in the province to educate the public in observing proper disposal of single-use personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as face masks, gloves, tissues and wipes, and other potentially infectious wastes.
Borgonia, who chairs the Board’s Committee on Environment Conservation and Natural Resources, in his resolution, said improper disposing of soiled face masks and other protective equipment may pose not only health concerns but also environmental issues.
“[The] improper disposal of soiled masks, which contain respiratory droplets of people who wore them, may endanger the health of others who pick them [up],” Borogonia’s resolution reads.
“Littering of disposable face masks and other protective gears could worsen plastic trash and other pollutants harming the marine ecosystems,” it added.
The resolution said it is timely and relevant for all LGUs to participate in informing educating the public about the ill-effects of the improper disposal of face masks and other wastes.
EcoWaste added that if the littering of disposable face masks and single-use PPEs will not stop, this could worsen plastic trash and other pollutants harming the marine ecosystems.
The group raised the alarm after their Basura Patrol captured scenes of disposable masks littered on sidewalks of areas in Metro Manila and the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex where locally stranded individuals (LSIs) availing of the government’s “Hatid Tulong” program crammed during the time.
The group, in an emailed press release, also called on the Department of Interior and Local Government to issue a directive to “protect public health and the environment from littered masks and PPE.”
“The careless disposal of used COVID-19 protective gear and products endangers public health and the environment and violates existing laws and regulations on ecological waste management,” Ecowaste Coalition Zero Waste Campaigner Jove Benosa said.
“Enacting and enforcing local ordinances banning the arbitrary disposal of used masks and other PPE should deter citizens from simply throwing potentially infectious discards onto the streets, which may end up contaminating our oceans and the food supply chain with microplastic particles,” he said. /bmjo
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