THE Municipal Government of Consolacion, Cebu is contemplating implementing a measure that will penalize any of its residents who improperly dispose of their masks.
Consolacion Mayor Joannes Alegado said he has asked the Municipal Council to pass an ordinance to help remind his constituents to not dispose of their masks just anywhere.
Alegado, who is a doctor by profession, said with his town now having its own Covid-19 cases, it was expected that more of his constituents would be buying masks and other protective equipment to protect themselves from being infected.
But he also feared that the improper disposal of masks and other protective equipment could lead to more infections.
Alegado said: "Since we shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ) two weeks ago, a lot of our residents have been using masks. Even street dwellers are using masks. But I’ve noticed often that some would just throw their masks indiscriminately on the street. While some would dispose of their used masks properly, they shouldn't mix them with their garbage."
Alegado said some of their garbage collectors would often find not just masks, but even face shields, goggles and other protective equipment after collecting the town's waste.
Consolacion has an estimated 5,000 workers living in the town, with most of them always wearing masks whenever they go to work, Alegado said.
Due to this, Alegado urged his constituents to provide a separate receptacle for their disposable masks.
By providing a separate receptacle that is not prone to contamination, Consolacion residents will not only protect themselves from getting infected but their garbage collectors as well.
Penalties include paying a fine of at least P2,000 as maximum fine.
Meanwhile, the Mandaue City Council requested the Mandaue City Environmental and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) to conduct city-wide information dissemination of the proper disposal of single-use personal protective equipment (PPEs).
Through the resolution of Mandaue City Councilor Joel Seno, it was approved by the council in the 57th regular session on August 12, 2020.
For Seno, this issue was neglected considering the mandate implemented in the city on wearing of masks and other protective equipment.
Mandaue City has implemented the city ordinance imposing the wearing of masks in public places and violators will be fined P5,000.
Now it is considered a health issue but sooner or later it will become an environmental issue particularly on the usage of disposable or single-use equipment, said Seno.
In the resolution, it states that improper disposal of these kinds of wastes poses threats to other's health if they are exposed to such wastes.
In addition, information dissemination is vital to educating the public of the proper disposal of disposable masks, tissues, wipes, gloves and other potentially infectious waste of PPEs, to prevent collateral damage to other people and to the environment.
Environmental issues are likely to develop and may persist such as the increase of plastic trash and harmful pollutants.
Since wearing protective equipment is part of the established health protocol, the resolution has sought equal importance to the proper disposal of these PPEs.
Seno said there are face masks disposed of by individuals directly in public waste containers. It's not only happening in Mandaue City but other LGUs as well.
The information dissemination will be in accordance with the guidelines and public advisories issued by the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Environment Management Bureau.
Meanwhile in a text message, Araceli Barlam, the head of Cenro, said: "Although I think a resolution on that matter is very important, I have yet to receive a copy of the document. Till then, I will have to hold off any comments."
In an interview with Marivic Cabigas, the head of the Department of General and Services, she said she still has to coordinate with the "Clean and Green" personnel in monitoring the disposal of this potentially infectious equipment. (ANV/KFD)