Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has reiterated his call for the proper disposal of face masks amid the raging coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The correct disposal of face masks would have a twofold effect as it will help prevent the further spread of the new coronavirus among individuals and at the same time spare the environment of the blight caused by discarded masks.
“Protection against COVID-19 goes beyond following the minimum health protocols and the use of face masks and face shields. Our responsibility extends to the disposal of these healthcare items which are potentially contaminated,” Cimatu said in a statement over the weekend.
He noted the need to “responsibly discard” COVID-19 litter especially disposable face masks since these have now begun to affect terrestrial and aquatic animals.
“We have seen that while face masks protect us, these have become the newest threat to animal life because of entanglement, and have added up to marine litter,” Cimatu said.
Earlier this year, discarded face masks were found entangled in the coral reefs of Anilao, Batangas. The DENR chief described the discovery as “alarming”.
The use of face masks among Filipinos started to become commonplace during the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.