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Discarded masks must be properly disposed of

2020-02-10author:source:China Daily, Xinhua

  With people wearing face masks to help protect themselves from being infected with the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia, a concern now is how they are disposing of their used masks. 

   

 

  As used face masks may carry germs including the new coronavirus, they shouldn't be randomly discarded.

   

  Since the virus can survive for days in humid conditions, the used masks may become a new source of infection.

   

  The Ministry of Ecology and Environment issued a guideline on Jan 28 urging separate treatment of infectious medical waste resulting from the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia outbreak and other medical waste.

   

  The guideline seeks to lay down rules for emergency treatment of medical waste from the prevention and control of the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia to avoid contamination and cut off the contagion.

   

  It said options for emergency treatment of the new coronavirus-related medical waste include mobile medical waste treatment facilities, combustion facilities for hazardous waste and domestic waste, as well as industrial furnaces, stressing that effective treatment is the ultimate goal.

   

  Special trash cans to collect the used facial masks and other household medical equipment have been set up in a residential community in Xigu district of Lanzhou city in Gansu province. [photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

   

  Thus, it is necessary for the government to encourage people to make sure the used masks are safely recycled and disposed of. Special trash cans should be set up in communities as centralized disposal points for the used masks of residents.

   

  If no special garbage bins are available, residents could spray disinfectant on both sides of their used masks and fold them up before putting them into a sealed plastic bag in the dustbin.

   

  For the safety of themselves and others, residents should take care of their used masks. Disinfecting them will help ensure the used masks do not become a second source of the coronavirus.

E-mail:li.yutong@mepfeco.org.cn

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