The coronavirus pandemic brought a massive fear to all age groups. We see how the COVID-19 situation put the different sectors in the brink of collapse— particularly in businesses, economy and even the normal flow of society. All we can do is to depend on what the governments and hospitals can do to combat the unseen danger of the 21st century.
While scientists are developing the vaccine against COVID-19, following physical distancing, self-isolation and good hygiene practices are what you can do to avoid the spread of the virus. Among the materials that hospitals and the public use to battle the unseen danger are the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). That includes face masks, gloves, protective clothing, face shields, isolation and surgical gowns, among others.
Although PPE plays a significant role in the health care and home care settings, the insurmountable demand for such materials comes with a downside. Single-use plastics are what most of these protective gears made. Once dumped improperly, these single-use plastic items are not only a threat to human’s health but as well as to the environment.
PPE: A New World of Wastes
In the global scale, people use approximately 129 billion face masks and 65 gloves each month since the onset of the COVID-19. Although these protective gears prevent the spread of the virus, the mismanagement of discarded PPE is becoming an alarming issue. Dumped PPE poses a range of challenges— from becoming a COVID-hazard itself or a fountain of single-use plastic wastes.
With the enormous demand for PPE, it’s difficult to imagine how both the government and private sectors act to handle such rubbish. While you may observe a few dumped surgical masks or gloves on your footpath, it’s where the problem starts. Regardless of the hospital or household setting, the enormous monthly demand for PPE is undeniably creating a new world of wastes right in front of us.
PPE being single-use plastic items are becoming problematic. While you use face masks and other PPE, improper dumping of such items can have a huge impact on the health and the environment. The rubbish issue continues to escalate as more Australians depend on these single-use plastics to combat the coronavirus daily.
Discarded PPE Can Become COVID-Hazard
In the hospital setting, you can expect that all PPE as infected medical wastes undergo standard treatment and disposal. But as you go along in your neighbourhood and public places, you can observe how most people opt to use face coverings and other protective gears to avoid getting infected. But as people start to dump these items recklessly, it might end up filling the footpath, fluttering in trees or even clogging waterways.
But the risky part here is that discarding PPE everywhere can become laden trash that carries coronavirus. Upon seeing improperly discarded masks and PPE, there’s no clear line whether it’s contaminated with the virus or not. Hence, exposure to these discarded PPE, particularly face masks in general places, supermarkets and other areas might be the reason for getting infected with COVID-19.
Compared to the clear guidelines of health-care settings in disposing of PPE, you might get confused about what are the exact guidelines of disposing of your masks and gloves in the public settings. As such, you don’t know whether the discarded personal protective equipment belongs to anyone who has coronavirus or not. Such heaps of PPE rubbish can become a COVID-hazard to you and your family.
PPE Rubbish Threatens Wildlife, Environment
The most effective way of eliminating discarded PPE is by burning— as high temperature destroy viruses. Before it ends up in landfills, it goes to the hazardous incineration plant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Although our landfills are getting more congested each day, it’s the best option to get rid of all medical wastes, particularly those PPE wastes contaminated with COVID-19.
Generally, discarded PPE undergo burning, sterilisation with steam or chemically disinfected to ensure you won’t contract the virus from contaminated trash at hospitals. But the story is different in public settings. With such enormous usage of PPE such as masks and gloves outdoors, it’s inevitable that many of these would end up dumped elsewhere.
Accidentally or not, throwing your masks, gloves and other protective equipment would contribute to the worsening COVID-19 wastes issues. With the fact that PPE is a disposable item made of plastic, such plastic wastes will add up to the threats on marine life. Improper dumping of face masks and other PPE can make a negative impact on the marine ecosystem.
With masks having a lifespan of 450 years and even longer for some types of PPE, more heaps of plastic wastes will disrupt the environment. Whether the pandemic will end sooner or later, our discarded PPE will remain longer and might take its toll in the long run— polluting more land, water and air.
In A Nutshell
Personal protective equipment plays a pivotal role in preventing further transmission of COVID-19 in the health and home care settings. While the health-care settings have clear guidelines on the disposal of discarded PPE, the improper disposal of such protective gears in public places complicates the COVID-19 wastes issue.
That‘s why the government, private sectors and households should act on the escalating discarded PPE— before it ends up becoming a serious hazard to our health and environment. A simple act of informing your neighbourhood on the proper disposal of PPE or throwing your masks and gloves to the bins can significantly help in solving the COVID-19 rubbish issues.
At Paul’s Rubbish Removal, we are one team to safely and properly sort, collect and dispose of all types of PPE in the hospitals and home care settings. Aside from directly helping hospitals, our expert staff is helping communities and households in getting rid of used masks, gloves and other discarded PPE. We make sure to transfer all PPE and infected wastes in treatment and incinerating facility— as we help to put an end to the spread of COVID-19.
Our over ten years of industry experience enable us to provide comprehensive and safe hospital rubbish removal. Contact our accommodating staff today at 0407 125 125 as we help you solve all your discarded PPE, regardless if you’re in the hospital or home settings. You can also book with us via email to experience seamless, efficient rubbish removal.