Consolacion mulls measure penalizing improper mask disposal
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Local officials in Consolacion town in northern Cebu are planning to enact an ordinance mandating proper disposal of face masks and other items used as protection from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and imposing penalties for those doing otherwise.
Mayor Joannes Alegado, in a phone interview with reporters on Friday, August 14, said he had requested Consolacion’s legislative body to come up with stricter laws that would compel people to segregate infectious wastes from other types of refuse.
“Sa pagkakarun, nakita nato for the past two weeks, pagsugod nato na GCQ (general community quarantine) ta, a lot of our residents sige na og gamit og mask, ubay-ubay naggamit ug katong disposable nga mask… pero makita nato sa pagsuroy ang uban, ipanglabay bisag asa lang,” said Alegado.
(For now and for the past two weeks since we shifted to GCQ, a lot of our residents have been using mask, and many are using disposable ones… but what we saw in our surroundings was that they were throwing it anywhere.)
“Ang improper waste disposal nato, labi na sa infectious waste, magpose kini ug risgo sa katawhan considering ginasuot nis ilong ug baba…bisag dili positive sa COVID, pero naa gihapoy kagaw aning mask. Atong ilikay dapat ang pag transmit sa kagaw through the garbage,” he added.
(The improper waste disposal, especially infectious waste, poses risk to the people considering these are used to cover our noses and mouths…even if the wearer is not positive of COVID, other contaminants are found on a used mask. We should avoid having garbage as a vehicle for transmission of other viruses.)
While saying that he would be giving Consolacion’s lawmakers freedom on how to craft the ordinance, Alegado believed having penalties was only right to ensure the public would comply with it.
“I think makatarunganon if naay penalties. Whatever penalties – kanang community service or fine…Kani dili lang tungod sa health but also tungod sa environment,” he explained.
(I think it’s just right to have penalties. Whatever types of penalties — be it community service or imposing fines… This is not only for our health but also for the environment.)
Surgical Masks, Infectious Wastes
The wearing of face masks is now mandatory in nearly all parts of the world as scientists race to end the coronavirus pandemic with a fully developed vaccine. COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person through droplets; thus, face masks are used to prevent infection and its spread.
One of the commonly used and highly recommended types of face masks is the N-88 surgical mask which is a three-ply, non-woven disposable mask.
In the meantime, Alegado urged Consolacion residents to practice separating infectious wastes from other garbage inside their own houses.
“Pwede ta magbutang ug lain plastic container sa maong mga infectious wastes, apil na ang gloves o face shields nga guba or goggles. Ibutang nato sila sa lain sudlanan para dili ma contaminated,” said Alegado.
(We can do so by having a separate plastic container for these infectious waste, which include gloves or damaged face shield or goggles. Let’s put them away in another container to avoid contamination.)
The mayor also said this could help lessen the risk of trash collectors, who happened to be essential frontline workers, from getting infected with other diseases.
Infectious waste or biohazard waste is the term used to classify refuse containing animal or human bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, mucous, or those used in laboratories and hospitals.
Consolacion, a second-class municipality located approximately 20 kilometers north of Cebu City, is still coming up with its official data on infectious waste collected from all barangays since the pandemic occurred this year. /dbs
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