Ordinance against improper disposal of face masks passed in Cebu City

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | January 28,2021 - 01:54 PM
Cebu City residents should dispose their face masks properly or they would be fined or penalized if they are caught improperly disposing this protective gears against the virus with a measure passed to prevent this.| CDN Digital file photo

Cebu City residents should dispose their face masks properly or they would be fined or penalized if they are caught improperly disposing this protective gears against the virus with a measure passed to prevent this.| CDN Digital file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Council passed an ordinance against the improper disposal of face masks and protective gears against the coronavirus on January 27, 2021.

Councilor Alvin Dizon, the proponent of the ordinance, said the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has resulted in increased consumption and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as disinfectant and hygiene products, to prevent infection and to contain the spread of the virus.

Photo documentation by the zero waste advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition, including posts by concerned local netizens, showing used face masks, as well as empty containers of rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizers, littered the streets and creeks, has prompted the councilor to propose the ordinance.

Read: ‘Do not litter your face masks!’ — EcoWaste Coalition

On their regular session on Wednesday, the council has decided to pass the ordinance in order to address the growing wastes brought by the use of personal protective equipment during the pandemic.

“The reckless disposal of COVID-19 protective gears and products, particularly potentially infectious face masks, poses a threat to human health and environment and goes against the efforts of the government to clean up the city,” said the councilor.

In the passed ordinance, households and establishments are mandated to treat all used face masks as hazardous and contaminated waste. Proper disposal of used face masks generated from both households and establishments shall be observed.

Used face masks must be cut in half to avoid their possible reuse and must then be disposed of by putting these in a small garbage bag, ideally yellow in color, and disinfecting them with the recommended bleach solution.

Bags containing the discarded masks must then be properly closed or sealed before disposal. The bags should then be segregated and labeled properly with a written mark that reads “USED MASKS”, or by any yellow color indicating the international color code for hazardous waste.

Interchangeable, replaceable disposable filters utilized in reusable face masks should also undergo the said disposal procedure.

This passed ordinance also prohibits the littering, throwing or dumping of used face masks, face shields, hand gloves and other PPE, and related COVID-19 discards in public places such as streets, sidewalks, parks, canals, esteros and other water bodies.

Violation of the said ordinance would incur fees on the individuals from P1,000 to P3,000 depending on the number of violations. Multiple violators may face jail time upon the discretion of the court.

Juridical identities such as offices or establishments can also be penalized from P3,000 to P5,000 along with possible revocation of business permit.

The City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) will be the main implementor of the ordinance.

The passed ordinance only awaits the signature of the Mayor Edgardo Labella for the implementation./dbs

Read: Ordinance on proper disposal of face masks, other COVID wastes only needs mayor’s OK

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TAGS: Cebu City Council, Councilor Alvin Dizon, ecowaste, face mask, improper disposal of face masks, protective gears

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