Improperly discarded face masks still an issue

DOWNSIDE … Millions of face masks have been issued to the people for free and not a few of these are being thrown all over the places. Such irresponsible way of discarding used face masks really does not help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Sadly, street cleaners such as this gentleman are the most exposed to the danger. File photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: On top of cigarette butts being thrown around indiscriminately, improperly discarded used face masks are also a big public nuisance which has worsened despite the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has been here for over a year. 

In saying this, Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS) chairman Datuk Peter Minos said the unsightly situation caused by the combination of these two improperly discarded items was certainly noticed by the public.

“This problem has given the council malu (shame), as well as a lot of headaches with regard to cleaning up. As long as Covid-19 is around, the problem will persist and it will get worse.

“The blame is always on us – the council – but people do not know the burdens of cleaning up daily,” he said on Tuesday (June 15).

He said the situation of improperly discarded face masks was still manageable in Kota Samarahan as the MPKS street sweepers cleared them daily.

Nevertheless, he said it was indeed a bad habit for anyone to deliberately dispose of their used face masks on the streets, in the drains, and at open public spaces.

“Habits die hard, just like smokers throwing their cigarette butts everywhere. It is unhealthy and unsightly. We at the council find it objectionable.

“Face masks thrown around after use are unsightly, dirty, and bad for the environment. It can endanger public health as well. Until we have incinerators, they are treated like other waste.”

He believed that anti-waste and anti-plastic campaigns were a must for all councils, adding that waste of any kind including plastics and now also used face masks were an endless concern for the councils.

He said another issue was rubbish being deliberately thrown along the roadsides from moving vehicles.

“I am really not happy with the culprits. Why can’t they throw their waste into the rubbish bins? Why throw waste out of moving vehicles? This bad habit must stop because campaigns and talks mean little if the bad habit and attitude persist.”

He appealed to the public to dispose of used face masks properly into bins, which would be cleared regularly by the respective councils, and also to stop throwing used face masks and other forms of waste onto the roadsides.

“This is not difficult. Stop the bad habit of discarding face masks on the streets, into drains, or at open public spaces. Please help the councils to help everybody.”