Coronavirus and disposal of face masks and gloves
We all know this is a crucial time in the world’s history. Coronavirus outbreak! We are confused, don’t know what to do per se. It is more of a ‘wait and see’ kind of a situation.
I am a little concerned about the poor disposal of the face masks. We know for sure most of these masks are single-use products.
Besides, disposable gloves are now in high demand, used by many people involved in different activities. You will see them being handed to shoppers at the entrance of supermarkets. Local traders, drivers, cashiers, among others, are using them.
The main question is, “what is the potential harm of these non-biodegradable single-use items on the environment and human health?”
I know some will say this is not the right time for ‘activism,’ but this is a valid concern to you and me. You should worry.
Coronavirus will be contained sooner or later. That is for sure! The determination to contain it across the globe is apparent.
Life will continue after this pandemic is contained. But, how will our environment be like if we aren’t cautious of our actions now?
I am raising this concern because evidence of poor disposal of these items is heartbreaking. It is as if people care less about the environment now than they did before. Life has not stopped!
Below are a few highlights of the potential effects of poor disposal of face masks and gloves;
- The increased demand and manufacturing of these items will in itself increase the number of solid wastes generated
- Interfering with the natural and physical state of the environment—lose of aesthetics
- Livestock might feed on them while grazing affecting their health; in worst-case scenarios may lead to death. Same applies to aquatic animals
- Cause clogging and blockage of sewerage systems
- Blockage of waterways. When it rains, most of these materials will be swept away into streams, lakes, and rivers or even to the ocean
- Trapping aquatic life interfering with normal functioning, including movement.
- There is also the risk of spreading the virus widely if people come in contact with an infected item
So what can we do to curb the graving damages that might occur?
- First is to promote hand-washing and sanitizing. Instead of supermarkets and other stores giving disposable glove, provide sanitizers to reduce the solid waste menace.
- To produce recyclable masks
- Citizens to practice responsible citizen behavior and dispose of the masks and gloves in the designated areas
The greatest responsibility lies with the citizens. You need to be considerate of the environment and your health by properly disposing of these items.
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