DENR Central Visayas urge the public to practice the proper way of disposing used surgical masks and gloves amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

Regional Executive Director Paquito Melicor, Jr. said, “Special trash cans should be set up in the community or in barangays, as a centralized disposal points for the used masks of residents. If no special garbage bins are available, residents could spray disinfectant on both sides of their masks and fold them up, sealed in a plastic bag before throwing them away.”

The Local Government Units (LGUs) should threat these waste as special waste, specifically household medical wastes. It should be handled carefully to protect the garbage haulers. Barangay officials may use megaphone or other means to inform, educate and communicate with the community to separate the used masks and gloves from the biodegradable and recyclables maintaining a stringent social distancing measure.

As more people now are wearing face masks and using surgical gloves to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus, they shouldn’t be randomly discarded as waste. Since the virus can survive for one or two days in humid conditions, the used masks may become a new source of infection. It may have been contaminated after use, filtering the air or stopping the spread of the virus if you yourself have it, you should ensure that you dispose of it correctly after use for the safety of others.

Also, it is inappropriate to mix contaminated masks with household waste. Given the waste segregation is currently implemented in the locality, mixed waste commonly exists. The mixture of polluted masks and recyclable waste may cause a potential danger to garbage collectors when they put hands in the waste bins to collect recyclable items. What, if someone just throws a used mask on the street, someone might pick it up, or worse try to collect them to recycle it and sell. DENR needs the cooperation of everybody until this pandemic subsides.

“Be safe. Be healthy. Help stop the spread of the virus. Maintain cleanliness at home, your surroundings, to protect our environment''. #TayoAngKalikasan#BeatCOVID19