Updated: Aug 26
Today, the world is fighting against frightening COVID-19, the infectious disease that is caused by the new virus from the coronavirus family. This is frightening for two reasons, one that it is infectious and hence spreading worldwide, and the other is that there is no concrete medical solution available against it as of now. Yet, we don’t need to panic. Because huge efforts are going on in the medical science world and at various authorities to find solutions and to control the spreading of the disease. We only need to patiently support the authorities and make sure we take precautionary measures announced by them.
But, people panic! And yes that is obvious. Everyone wants to remain safe. However, we shall not forget that in the attempt of protecting ourselves we are not risking someone else’s life. If we start stacking handwash, sanitizers, gloves, and masks, how they are going to reach the people who need them most (who are considered to be at the risk of disease or infection)? If they don’t get to use, how we will remain safe?
Especially with the need of masks, we should be careful about it.
World Health Organization (WHO) has advised various guidelines to take precautionary measures in these days of COVID-19. The detailed information can be found here.
It mentions that masks should be used by the people who are medical workers, infected people, and those who visit infected areas or people.
WHO mentions (Read here): Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. The disposable face mask can only be used once. And that’s THE important point!
Masks are precious things at this time and we SHALL NOT WASTE them. Of course, we all want to protect ourselves but not at the cost of environmental effects and someone else’s life.
We need to take care of two things on a priority.
1. If we are not ill/infected and want to be safe, we can use reusable masks. They are made of cloths and are washable. We can cover our face with our scarfs, handkerchiefs and that has been announced by health authorities also. This will lead to less waste generation. On an important note, single-use masks are made of polypropylene so they are not going to decompose easily. So wise use of masks will help the environment.
PS: Do not reuse the single-use mask.
2. Disposable masks are important and are critically important when are used by an infected person or someone visiting the infected area or person. WHO recommends masks should be disposed of properly and immediately after removal in the closed bins. Ideally used masks should go into medical waste. If not disposed of properly (that is otherwise in the form of mixed waste), this can cause a severe impact on the person who handles the mixed waste. This can cause spreading the disease through air and water if disposed of openly and that could be a next future threat. We can keep them segregated from other waste, spray disinfectant over it, and put in a sealed bag before disposal.
At this stage of COVID19 danger, let’s be wise. Let’s not dispose of or litter the masks in open and risk someone else’s life. It is a threat to humans and the planet including other species if we do not use and dispose of masks responsibly.
WHO link for details about the mask usage: Read here
In general littering and mixed waste always cause health and environmental effects. It can make situations like epidemic or pandemic way more worse.
We all know COVID-19 has been declared as a pandemic. So, it is our sole responsibility that we become wise and maintain cleanliness and hygiene all around. That means being responsible while coughing, sneezing, and while spitting openly too! Importantly, don’t panic!
Let’s protect together each other and also the planet!
Let’s avoid littering masks irresponsibly!
What are you doing to keep yourself safe from the virus as well as keeping the environment safe? Are you disposing your mask properly?
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