MGD is pleased to launch the Face Mask Challenge to spread awareness on the proper selection and usage of Face Masks. We have kept two hashtags #mgdmaskchallenge and #mgdmymask wherein people can tag themselves and throw this challenge to their dear ones showing care and good health for them.
In addition to plastic waste, tonnes of COVID19 waste has also become a challenge for us now. It’s important to understand what kind of mask we are wearing since this is going to impact the health of people and our environment in the next 10 to 20 years. If masks are not biodegradable and are made up of material that contains plastic polymers, it will take hundreds of years for them to decompose. Most of the single-use masks are made from non-woven plastic which might contain plastics like polypropylene. Such masks are used on daily basis and thrown away by people. Ending up polluting our environment and affecting the health of sanitation workers and garbage collectors. Subsequently, this discarded material reaches oceans, rivers, and into the soil affecting marine life, wildlife, and human life. At homes with COVID suspects or patients, we need to properly wrap masks, put them in a closed bin or yellow bag for at least 72 hours, and handover them to the garbage collector with proper care and information.
While selecting masks we should consider the environmental impact of them since each one of us uses them every day either for our safety or if we are infected or quarantined due to the Coronavirus. Also while disposing of them proper guidelines should be followed so that they should not reach landfills. Instead should be sterilized properly and burned or buried in the ground or given to garbage pickers after following all safety guidelines. Proper disposal of used PPE’s, masks, and gloves need to be done while attending public gatherings, hospitals, COVID centers, and crematoriums. Along with a focus on sanitation & hygiene, bio-medical waste management should also be considered because the final objective is to control transmission.
To create more awareness on how to manage the COVID bio-medical waste in our homes or organizations we can check this link for COVID-19 waste management and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee website on regular basis. It gives complete information on Bio-Medical Waste Treatment Facilities available in Delhi. Two operators for bio-medical waste treatment operate in SSI Industrial Area and Nilothi. This document clearly guides us on do’s and don’ts while a person is a home quarantined.
The government has also launched COVID-19 Biomedical Waste Tracking App which could be downloaded from Google Play Store and used as per instructions given in this user manual.
You can also share your experiences and ideas on bio-medical waste management on MGD Community platform, the beta version we have launched recently. Alternatives are always there and cloth fabric masks or bioplastic masks made from vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, straw, woodchips, sawdust, recycled food waste could be experimented or manufactured.