During the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, precautionary measures like disposable face masks, PPE kits, and surgical gloves were used to control the spread of the contagion. The population has been fighting the ongoing pandemic since 2019. Wearing face masks is now a mandatory requirement for most countries.
The world is already battling pollution challenges for decades and now disposable face masks have increased the bar. A research paper has shown that pandemic-associated plastic waste is a major environmental concern in the coming years. The population knows about the troubles caused by plastic and aims to reduce it in the future.
Many face masks that we use are generally used plastic for manufacture and if not discarded properly then it is a major issue for the environment. Randomly thrown masks come with a risk of virus transmission. Small animals can get entangled in the elastic of the disposable face mask. While there is a need to protect ourselves from the deadly contagion, we should also ensure safety for the environment. Here are some tips to dispose of face masks safely.
Tips for face mask disposal
- Clean your hands before you put the mask on your face and after you take it off. You should not throw them away with household garbage. Place the masks inside a plastic bag and throw them away. When you have thrown the used mask away, wash your hand with soap and water.
- Snip the straps of the disposable face masks as small animals or birds can get entangled with the straps and die. You need to cut the elastic straps which hold the mask in place and then dispose them.
- Micro and nano plastics from the disposable face masks harm the environment and water sources. It is necessary to plan and adhere to proper solid waste management systems to keep our environment clean. It is necessary to plan specific separation, collection, and disposal of face masks from ordinary waste.
- Adoption of a sustainable approach to developing more environmentally friendly PPE (personal protective equipment) kits and disposable face masks. Planning is done to use natural plant fibers to produce biodegradable face masks and PPE kits.
- Create awareness of environmental issues related to disposable face masks and inform your colleagues and family members regarding safe disposal procedures. Proper action is needed to reduce the harmful impact related to disposable face masks and other medical products.