Davao City Council to discuss measures in disposing single-use face masks

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DAVAO CITY — The City Council here is set to define modalities on the disposal of single-use face masks.

Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, the Chairperson of the Committee on Health, in an interview with the city government-owned DCDR said she is proposing an ordinance which will define the proper disposal of single-use masks that contain synthetic fibers. 

Since March, Every citizen has been required to wear a face mask as protection against coronavirus-19 infection, but the government has yet to craft a law on how to dispose of it.

Many threw their face masks as among the garbage while others put it in a plastic bag before putting it on a garbage bin, but there are those who just leave their face mask at their convenience.

Villafuerte’s proposal was passed for first reading on Thursday and it will be scheduled for a committee hearing, giving all stakeholders the chance to share their view on how to go about disposing of the face masks.

Villafuerte said materials with synthetic fibers do decay, thus, leaving damage to the environment. 

Among the proposed mode of disposal is applying disinfectant to every used face mask and it must be cut into pieces before throwing it.

Face masks, according to her should be separated from the regular garbages to protect the garbage collectors.

The World Health Organization even suggests that removing face mask-one must not touch the from the mask and should dispose of it immediately in a closed bin.

The Narayana Health in India in a report suggests the following protocol in wearing and disposing of face masks:

  • Cloth mask (Wash) – Should be washed properly and frequently and left to hang and air dry.
  • Surgical mask (Fold, tie, wrap) – It should be removed chin upwards, and please take care to remove it from the strings and be careful not to touch the front portion while taking off the mask. After taking the mask off, please fold it half inwards, such that droplets from mouth and nose are not exposed. Then, fold the mask into another half, until it looks like a roll. The mask can also be wrapped with its ear loops so that it will not unravel. Then wrap the mask in a tissue paper or polythene bag and immediately discard it in the yellow waste bag. Keep the things handy before disposing of it.
  • N95 respirator – When removing the mask, hold the edge of the straps attached to take of the N95 mask. Don’t touch the inside part of the respirator. Wash hands before and after it. Gently remove the mask so as not to disseminate contaminants on the mask. Place the mask in a plastic bag or zip-lock bag. You can also store them in a breathable container such as a paper bag between uses. Secure the bag tightly. Place the plastic bag into garbage can or biomedical waste disposal unit. Never put on a new mask until you have properly washed your hands.

In the Philippines, health authorities has yet to announce how citizens dispose the used face mask.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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