Coronavirus can be transmitted through the trash: on the sorting conveyor are afraid of masks

Let’s just clarify – this is not about all medical protective masks, but only those that are used by citizens in everyday life.

about the destruction of those masks that are worn by doctors, nurses, staff and patients of medical institutions, it is not challenging. In this case, out-of-date protective bandage, along with other used supplies – scraps of bandages, pieces of cotton swabs, disposable gloves, napkins, – fall, legalized according to the requirements in the category of “epidemically dangerous waste” or another – medical waste is class B. first, And sent in special containers, and from there they are taken to a specially organized destruction, which are taken strict measures to ensure sanitary safety.

But with the masks “ordinary” used by people in everyday life – on the street, in transport, at work, with the disposal of such masks now emerged, according to experts, the problem. More and more serious, fraught with troubles.

we talked to Executive Director of the Association of organisations of operators and experts in the field of waste management “Clean country” Ruslan Gubaidullina.

– Each incorrectly discarded disposable face mask, is a potential source of infection with mers – once said Ruslan Kharisovich. – It can infect many around them. First the bin where she threw away, then trash, then a garbage truck. Finally, once on the sorting line of a complex for processing MSW, it becomes a source of infection, dangerous to the people that work there. But in the whole country at the enterprises involved in the field of waste management, employs about 200 thousand people.

In late March – early April, we began to receive disturbing signals “from below” – from the staff involved in waste sorting. Many of them are alarmed by the fact that in municipal waste VSTwill Rechitsa more discarded disposable masks. The people working on the sorting conveyor, with them inevitably forced to contact, and although they provided protective clothing, gloves, disinfectant chemicals, yet are afraid of catching the infection. But many of the house families, children.

So last week we sent in connection with this appeal in state court. We ask the country’s leadership to pay attention to “mask” the problem. After all, citizens do not just throw the old mask into the garbage can and containers, sometimes you can see such protective bandage lying on the sidewalks, under the walls of the houses.

What are they now, do not throw away, stash in your house?

– to Throw away, of course, have. But it should be done accordingly. We encourage residents to follow simple rules. First, in no case do not throw used protective bandage just on the sidewalk, on the lawn. Secondly, having decided to get rid of already contaminated mask, you need to put it in a plastic bag, even in the best two for reliability, hermetically tie in this already to throw in the bucket or in the garbage disposal. This precaution helps to further prevent the spread of infection in the environment. Including – to protect the workers who are engaged in sorting of solid municipal waste from direct contact with possibly infected objects.

– we Have now the texture has changed, – said Ruslan Gubaidullin, In the morphology of the debris appeared specific wastes like discarded disposable masks, gloves, which used in such quantity was not. In addition, a shift in the receipt of wastes on site in the city, where the trash. It was much less in the area of service industries, institutions, organizations, since they are closed almost everywhere. But in the residential sector, which is now a lot of people in isolation, the volume of waste increased by 10-15 %. The situation resembles that which occurs regularly during the Christmas holidays.

– As the problem of disposal of disposable masks is solved in other countries?

We studied foreign experience. In some European countries, for example, in the UK, generally strictly prohibited from throwing away used medical masks. They must first lie down in an isolated form (tied in plastic bags) three days in the apartment. Only after that, the packets masks can be discarded in the trash.

– i.e. three days, which the virus “conduct in samosoznanii”, enough to “kill”?

– the specialists prevails this opinion. Although some epidemiologists call a longer period. To the extent that the virus may persist on the surface of the mask up to seven days.

– And what is the fate of these discarded citizens protective masks? There are some special rules disposal? Burn them somewhere or buried?

– There is a Federal law which regulates the treatment of municipal solid wastes. In it, in particular, are governed by separate regulations regarding the disposal of waste generated in medical institutions. Takes them firm, licensed. Then this waste is disposed of in a special way. There are special equipment. Other standards prescribed waste coming from households.

as far As I understand, the problem arose with the use of disposable masks, caught up in this, the last category of trash?

– you are Absolutely right. If the medical mask is thrown in a normal container near a house, it is no longer “epidemically dangerous waste”, but simply TKO. In the future at all stages of recycling it separately one will not do. Although, I want to emphasize that, unlike many other European countries, in Russia we even in this difficult conditions of the epidemic do not stop separate waste collection.

And what is the fate of the ejected population disposable masks?

– These masks fall into the portion of MSW that has to be landfilled because of existing conditions on the sorting conveyors are not taken.

– And if we were selected?

– Then the mask went on burning, or other disposal with the use of disinfection technologies.

of Course, ideally the collection of disposable masks would have to establish separately – as, for example, batteries. But there is a problem with the organization of such a collection. The Executive authorities shall be entitled to introduce a separate regulation for such things. It is possible to oblige management companies to collect masks. But the introduction of such regulations will require significant costs: need to purchase additional pots and containers, to make them conspicuous markings to provide special transport for export… But all the current epidemic situation is temporary. When the coronavirus can handle such a large number of masks people use to not be, hence the need for separate containers for them will disappear.

the Correspondent of “MK” has found out some of the nuances associated with the disposal of disposable medicinskih masks.

They are made of non – woven material- spunbond. According to environmentalists, in fact it is a plastic that you cannot recycle because of the high hazard class because it is medical waste. Getting to landfill, the mask will be decomposed over the centuries and harms the environment. Besides, it has some time yet to be the virus that is unsafe from an epidemiological point of view. – Uncompressed in plastic bags b/u mask, once in the landfill, can be a source of infection in the surrounding area: there is veroyatnosti that they suddenly catch the wind and carry far away, closer to some of the neighboring villages.

we must Not forget that, alas, we have a widespread phenomenon withtihinya landfill. In this case, a lot of garbage, including discarded and the mask is not on a specially prepared and secured the site, but somewhere in the ravine, surrounded by forests or fields. Here are free to enter random people here can start a game children…

Therefore, the best way to avoid trouble, to block the coronavirus this loophole, would be to establish a special system of disposal of masks and other epidemically dangerous waste.

In France, one company has started to produce a appropriate technique. Their mobile unit is designed for disposal of disposable masks and gowns. The device grinds the waste and disinfects them with steam at a temperature of over 120 degrees. It is reported that in one hour the unit can process up to 100 kilograms of hazardous materials.

Read also: “the Professionals gave advice on the use of soap and antiseptics in a pandemic”