GOVERNMENT environmental overseer, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has said all roadblocks and toll stations should have bins to dispose of used personal protective equipment in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Tatenda Chitagu
After government promulgated a law making compulsory the wearing of face masks in public places, there has been a new environmental challenge from used masks and gloves.
In a COVID-19 waste management draft guide to respond to the disease, EMA says over 4,2 millions masks were estimated to end up in the environment and water bodies daily, presenting a potential health and ecological disaster.
“There should be provision of red bin liners at each COVID-19-designated roadblock for placing used face masks and gloves by security personnel manning the roadblocks provided by the Home Affairs ministry.
“At end of each shift, the member-in-charge of the shift should ensure that the bin liners are tied and placed into the provided waste receptacle before delivering it to the nearest disposal facility recommended by the Health and Child Care ministry and approved by EMA for treatment and disposal or collection by a designated professional agent of this waste.
“Teams manning roadblocks should discourage motorists from throwing out of the vehicles masks and gloves as this leads to littering and spread of COVID-19,” part of the guide read.
EMA also proposesd that there should be public awareness materials at roadblocks on the proper disposal of masks and gloves. It also called for all designated public buses to have red bin liners on board for use by passengers.
“The liners shall be placed at designated points at the end of each single trip, preferably at the last security checkpoint before destination. Security officers to check on compliance,” the guide read.
EMA sais there should be incinerators at all COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres; at testing and treatment centres as well as designated health centres.
“Management of face masks and gloves during this COVID-19 period needs to be handled with great care to avoid environmental pollution, health risks and raising alarm to an already disturbed population.”