"This is what we need to convey to PPKM enforcers at the micro scale. We support contact tracing, isolation, and village posts, but let us not neglect waste management at the family level, including medical waste, such as masks, that can be produced from such programs," Head of Health Handling from the Task Force, Military Brigadier General (Ret) Dr Alexander K. Ginting, stated during a discussion in Jakarta on Sunday.
During the implementation of PPKM, the production of medical waste, including single-use masks, which can potentially contain the COVID-19 virus particles, may increase and become the source of spread of the virus if they are not handled properly.
To this end, he urged authorities involved in the implementation of PPKM at the micro level, such as village-level governments and community managements, as well as neighborhood associations, to give special attention to medical waste management in their area.
Furthermore, Head of the Task Force's Medical Waste Sub-division, Lia G. Partakusuma, urged people to contribute to managing mask waste in order to prevent the spread of disease from waste.
Partakusuma suggested that people should disinfect their single-use masks before disposing them, including by firstly soaking them in detergent to get rid of any viruses and to cut them up to prevent irresponsible parties from using them.
In the case of COVID-19 patients under independent isolation at home, it is advisable that their waste be separated from those of the remaining residents in the house to ease the process of medical waste management.
He also encouraged the establishment of mask collection points at offices or homes with special signs to ensure safety for cleaners that transport them.
"All of us would hopefully realize that we are responsible for our own environment, and let us break the chain of transmission of COVID-19 by closing all potential means of transmission," she emphasized.
Data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) found that since the COVID-19 pandemic struck Indonesia in March 2020 until early February of 2021, some 6,417.95 tons of medical waste related to COVID-19 had been generated.
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