Group pushes reusable face masks to lessen Covid-19 plastic waste

Discarded face masks collected by the EcoWaste Coalition at the Baseco Beach in Manila. (Contributed photo)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental health group, prodded the general public to go for reusable cloth face masks to control the unbridled use and disposal of single-use masks made of non-biodegradable and non-recyclable plastic.

The group’s latest plea for sustainable resource use followed its discovery yesterday of soiled medical or surgical face masks on the so-called Baseco Beach in Port Area, Manila and along the coast of Barangay Muzon in Rosario, Cavite.

Aside from disposable face masks, the group also found rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer plastic bottles washed up on the beaches along with mostly plastic garbage such as carry bags, product sachets, polystyrene containers, straws and other single-use items.

Aileen Lucero, national coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition said limiting our use of medical masks will also ensure adequate and steady supply for those who need them the most, citing a World Health Organization (WHO) advisory on who wears medical and fabric masks, where and when.

According to the WHO, medical/surgical masks should be worn by health workers, people who have Covid-19 symptoms and those who take care of someone suspected or confirmed with Covid-19.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EcoWaste Coalition also pointed to the need to integrate in the National Plan of Action for the Prevention, Reduction, and Management of Marine Litter (NPOA-ML) concrete policies and steps to cut down on coronavirus plastic waste and to stop such waste from entering the oceans.

The NPOA-ML is currently being finalized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB). (PR)


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