DENR to CL residents: Dispose face masks properly

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) appeals to the public to dispose face masks properly to curb risks of pollution and biodiversity loss in Central Luzon. 

DENR Regional Executive Director Paquito Moreno Jr. said healthcare wastes, such as face masks and gloves, must be separated from other regular household wastes since they are considered hospital wastes which pose danger to health and the environment. 

“The proper disposal of these potentially contaminated healthcare items starts at home. These wastes must be placed in a yellow bin or any separate container, properly labeled as household healthcare wastes,” he explained. 

He added that the participation of households in the proper segregation of these wastes play a significant part in containing the spread of COVID-19.

The public must refrain from indiscriminately throwing in public places, offices and open bins used face mask as they pose potential health hazards to people who come in contact with them. 

DENR records show that about 4,500 tons of hazardous wastes, usually composed of healthcare items like used face masks, personal protective equipment, face shields, and gloves have been collected in the region since July 2020. 

The agency warned the public that if this figure would rise, plastic pollution and marine litter would affect the sustainability of aquatic and terrestrial animals, and would likewise smother the natural habitat of wildlife.

Improper disposal of hazardous wastes is punishable under Republic Act No. 6969 otherwise known as Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990.

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