Waste resulting from the pandemic such as used gloves and masks should be disposed of according to guidelines by the health ministry and should not end up in parks, on pavements and other public areas, head of the environment department Costas Hadjipanayiotou said on Wednesday.
“Maintaining public health is the responsibility of all of us, especially in times like the ones we are going through now, where issues of cleanliness and hygiene are of paramount importance,” he stressed.
“Unfortunately, as I mentioned, the phenomenon of uncontrolled discarded used gloves and masks on pavements and in public areas is intense.
The local authorities, which consult with the ministry of health where necessary, are also responsible for the cleanliness of these areas.”
Raising public awareness also plays an important role, he added.
It is not just a question of waste management, but how to manage a pandemic.
Waste from hospitals where coronavirus patients or suspected cases are present should be treated as dangerous health-care waste.
“This means that they are placed in special yellow bags and collected by licensed companies for the management of hazardous medical waste, with which the ministry of health has started to cooperate, to be subjected to the appropriate treatment before their final disposal,” Hadjipanayiotou explained.
Our primary concern in this situation is the public health and not recycling, and the masks and gloves cannot be recycled but must be disposed of in closed bins to prevent contamination.
As regards disposable items such as cutlery and other items from restaurants, they cannot be recycled after they have been used, the head of the department said.
Asked about waste at beaches, he said maintaining the cleanliness of these areas lies with the local authorities.
It is recommended to place closed bins where waste such as gloves and masks can be thrown away in such public areas.