This would pass as any other usual trash by the roadside but on a closer examination, one would notice that used face masks are part of the trash.
Wrongful disposal of face masks is becoming a great concern in Kenya, with an increase in the number of face masks being used daily due to the enforcement of mask mandate. The government had put the mandate in place in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 but a dilemma on how to handle used face masks is in the offing explains Dorcas Alivista, pharmaceutical technologist.
＂Apart from COVID and the current situation, some people are also having diseases like TB which are communicable, so when you dispose them of like securely with other medical waste, you will have handled not only COVID but other communicable diseases that people are transmitting when using the masks.＂
Some of the wrongfully disposed of masks find themselves into this already polluted river, the main concern is what impact will they have on the environment.
The ministry of health in conjunction with National Environment Management Authority of Kenya (NEMA) had laid down guidelines on how to safely discard the face mask but that has not helped much in solving the problem.
＂In a home set up, I would advise masks to be burnt after they are used so that we are also going to handle the issue of people who are going to take masks that have been used and just wash them and resell.＂concludes Dorcas Alivista.