Since human coronaviruses will potentially remain infectious for up to nine days even on inanimate surfaces, an environmental health group on Monday called on consumers of disposable face masks to properly dispose of them.
As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to threaten the world, Jove Benosa, who serves as EcoWaste Coalition’s Zero Waste Campaigner, enumerated the potential implications of inadequate disposal of face masks.
Citing a report published in The Journal of Hospital Infection in March 2020, Benosa said that “human coronaviruses can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces for up to nine days. Because the virus can live on surfaces for a number of days, discarded masks can become a possible source of infection.
He also said that improper disposal of face masks can also pollute water sources and thus damage marine life.
Benosa also cited an incident in Thailand where authorities raided a factory selling masks that had been modified.
Medical experts are not advocating reuse of the disposable face masks.
The zero waste advocate then echoed the World Health Organization (WHO) call that “the use of a mask alone is inadequate to provide adequate standard of protection and other similarly appropriate steps should be adopted.
Benosa emcouraged everyone to heed on Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s appeal to the Philippines to use face masks judiciously to avoid shortage.
There are 140 reported cases of COVID-19 in the country as of Sunday evening with the death toll touching 12.