Visakhapatnam

Unsafe disposal of masks posing a threat to sanitation workers

Health hazard: A used mask dumped near a dustbin in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

Health hazard: A used mask dumped near a dustbin in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

Stern action demanded against those neglecting safety protocol

The unsafe disposal of face masks by some persons poses a major threat to others, particularly sanitary workers, who are among the frontline warriors in the fight against COVID-19.

Despite the rapid spread of COVID-19 infection, the habit of throwing the used masks, by some negligent sections, continues. The discarded masks can be seen on roads more in number in many lanes of the city.

“Every day, I pick up a number of face masks on the road, especially the surgical masks. The surgical ones which are sold for prices ranging between ₹12 and ₹16 in pharmacies are for one-time use. After use, people just throw them on the roads. The cloth masks are found in very few numbers on the roads,” said Janakamma, a sanitary worker from the city.

Another sanitary worker Ramu said, “People, living in individual houses, dump the wastes in the dustbin, without segregating them. After picking up the bins, we are forced to clear the biowastes, which is dangerous to us,” he said.

Some members of the public complain of used masks thrown in public places, especially near play arenas, parking lots and walking tracks.

“When I took my son to a nearby vacant space for play, we found a number of discarded face masks. Children may handle, them unmindful of the COVID-19 threat. The officials should impose fine on individuals, who do not dispose of them properly,” said K. Ramana, a resident of Visalakshi Nagar.

GVMC Chief Medical and Health Officer K.S.L.G. Sastry said that a face mask is used to prevent inhalation of air-effluents through mouth or nose.

The used masks, if not disposed of properly, can pose a serious health hazard to others, when they come in contact with them.

Principal, Andhra Medical College, P.V. Sudhakar, said that masks should be disposed of only as per protocol.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 10:27:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/unsafe-disposal-of-masks-posing-a-threat-to-sanitation-workers/article31940360.ece

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