Valenzuela passes ordinance for proper disposal of face masks, face shields, PPEs

The city government of Valenzuela will ensure that face masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment will be disposed of by its residents properly through imposing a fine against violators.

Under Ordinance No. 769 Series of 2020 or the "Face Mask and Face Shield Disposal Ordinance of Valenzuela City," residents should ensure that used face masks and face shields are disposed of directly to proper garbage bags.

The local government said these garbage bags should be color yellow for easy identification or must be labeled as "infectious waste."

It added, "cutting face masks and face shields in half before its disposal is also strongly encouraged to avoid re-use."

The measure stated that "any person who throws used face masks and face shields in canals, streams, rivers and other bodies of water or leaves the waste in places such as streets that may be blown away or scattered will be charged with an administrative penalty."

"Failure to comply with the ordinance will be charged by administrative penalty of P1,000 or 24 hours community service on the First Offense, P3,000 or 48 hours of community service for the Second Offense, and P5,000 or 72 hours community service for the Third Offense," it added.

The local government on Monday said the passing of the ordinance came after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources urged local government units to ensure the compliance of their constituents in the proper segregation, handling, and disposal of wastes following the provisions of the “Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act.”

Experts pointed out that discarded face masks and face shields have a high possibility to carry infectious particles that may cross-contaminate the surfaces and users who have been identified as Persons under Investigation (PUIs) or Persons under Monitoring (PUMs).

Members of households with identified PUIs or PUMs should also take precaution in handling their special wastes through "initially disinfecting it with a chlorine-based solution before collection to prevent any further spread of the COVID-19 virus in the community."

The City Health Office, Sanitation Office, and the Task Force Disiplina will lead the measure’s implementation and be assisted by the City Environment and Natural Resources Office.