IMPROPERLY DISCARDED FACE MASK FINDS ITS WAY ON THE SHORES OF MANILA BAY
The public health crisis brought about by COVID-19 has added a new item on the types of waste that end up in Manila Bay: facemasks!
As with cigarette butts—the single most collected item on the world’s beaches according to Ocean Conservancy—and disposable plastics, discarded medical facemasks are slowly becoming a common sighting in the waters of Manila Bay, posing an added danger to the people who rely on its aquatic resources for a living.
To further prevent the increase of COVID-19 cases in the country, DENR-NCR is urging everyone to observe proper handling and responsible waste disposal of every single-use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as a must practice for our battle against COVID-19.
The DENR also advised that all must observe proper solid waste management at home, as it is one of the top priority programs of the department. In disposing of used face masks, face shields, gloves, and gowns, make sure to have it separated to other solid waste. Experts suggest that it is possible to disinfect disposable PPEs through soaking it first on a mixture solution of 1 tbsp bleach and 1.5-liter of clean water for 30 minutes, before having it placed on a separate plastic sealed bag for at least 72hours before garbage collection and have it labeled as `biomedical waste` or `infectious waste’.
As we continue to wear disposable PPEs such as face masks to protect ourselves, let us all be aware that PPEs if improperly disposed can expose other people to infection. Please dispose of these properly and help in the cleanup, rehabilitation, and protection of Manila Bay and its tributaries. Better yet, please consider using washable facemasks instead.