How Careless Litter Of Masks-Gloves Is The Next Challenge Facing The Environment

Waste disposal of gloves and masks

Waste disposal has been a worry for all nations. But the coronavirus times has exasperated this problem, as people continue to carelessly discard masks and gloves on streets.

Made with various different kinds of materials, the masks and gloves pose a biohazard and threat to marine life. It has been noticed that gloves and masks are being carelessly disposed on streets, supermarkets and beaches left for workers to pick and dispose. Essential service workers are already facing huge risk to contraction and must not be put into such difficult situations.

In times to come, these masks and latex gloves will start to create a plastic pollution situation. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that masks be carefully removed and disposed of in a closed bin, but additional local procedures may be in place, and should be followed. A twitter campaign has been asking people ‘Are discarded masks and gloves the new cigarette butts?’

According to official statistics collected in early March through a Reuters report, single-use face masks are appearing on beaches and nature trails in Hong Kong after the semi-autonomous city’s 7.4 million people have been using them every day. A month later, this problem could only have worsened with mask usage growing across the globe.

The problem is the same in Middle East and Beirut local media has run an article showing some 200 photographs of carelessly discarded masks and gloves.  His Facebook post was called ‘Invaders of Beirut.’

While a general consensus is that proper disposal has to be done through trash bins, excessive exposure to the bins too can lead to cross contamination for street workers and garbage collectors. Many of them across the world have complaint of exposure chances due to lack of proper protective gears.

Cases of contraction are increasing steadily across the Middle East. Saudi Arabia for example has reported over 40,000 coronavirus cases and therefore some supermarkets have introduced rules requiring shoppers to wear disposable gloves.Many discard them in the parking lots after they emerge, with the plastic waste blowing in the hot desert wind. Many pharmacies are running out of supplies. Health agencies are now encouraging people to use reusable cloth masks and wash hands more frequently. They are also encouraging people from carelessly disposing their own masks and gloves and to carry them instead and dispose them in a separate plastic bag and take them home to trash.

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