Random disposal of masks, gloves can cause transmission: Govt

Muscat: The government led by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) has stressed the need to use the correct means to get rid of the masks because of the health and environmental risks they pose.

“Correct disposal of personal protective equipment must be ensured so that it is not a cause of transmission, the Minister of Health said on Thursday.

“We have received complaints of people dumping of masks and gloves, which is an uncivilized act. No penalties or fines are imposed and we rely on people’s awareness,” he added.
MECA also said that environmental experts have warned against the use of facial masks that cannot be recycled, as well as products that are often made of plastic.

The ministry stated that the process of getting rid of masks and other protective gear randomly on the roads and especially on beaches could become a health and environmental concern because of their impact on wild and marine life.

It added that the problem is already arising in various countries around the world, where about eight million tonnes of plastic ends up at sea annually, and they constitute 80 percent of the waste in the seas according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

MECA said it is preferable to use reusable masks, which are available in the local market. Users should clean and disinfect them regularly according to the specifications and standards approved to ensure the quality and efficiency of these masks.