Cyprus International University (CIU) Faculty of Engineering, Environmental Engineering Program Coordinator Prof.Dr. Rana Kıdak pointed out that there is a significant increase in the use of masks and gloves to protect against the COVID-19 outbreak, but the masks and gloves used creates a threat to human health and the environment.
Prof. Dr. Kıdak mentioned that many countries have taken important steps along the lines of curfew restrictions including protection of physical distance, use of masks and, most importantly, compliance with hygiene rules in society, and continued, “many gloves and masks used in this process have been thrown onto the streets. Disposed masks and gloves threaten the health of the citizens.”
"Should be disposed of as medical waste"
Underlining that the issue should be viewed from two perspectives, Kıdak pointed out that the mask and gloves used by people with the disease carry the risk of transmitting the infection, and the masks and gloves used by people, who do not have the disease, increase the solid waste pollution load.
Prof. Dr. Kıdak reminded that strict measures were taken in the country when COVID-19 was first spread and that the epidemic was kept under control, and also all kinds of materials used by hospital and quarantine patients were disposed of as medical waste.
Stating that materials thrown into the environment even though they are included in this group, seriously threaten public health, Kıdak stated that wastes that are not collected and destroyed within the framework of necessary regulations are not only threatening the environment but also make room for contamination.
Prof. Dr. Kıdak stated that the protective materials disposed randomly to the environment due to the unconsciousness of those who do not carry the disease increase the existing environmental pollution and continued: “Disposable personal protectors can cause significant damage to the environment. For example, in Hong Kong, on the coastline of the Soko Islands, a pile of waste from protective masks floats on the sea surface. Informing the public on this issue has great importance in terms of protecting us from unwanted consequences”.
News Date: June 25, 2020