Turkey, Environment

Turkey's move on waste disposal crucial but late:Expert

Environmental engineer says used masks and gloves should be kept in separate bags for 72 hours

Burak Bir   | 15.04.2020
Turkey's move on waste disposal crucial but late:Expert


Turkey’s circular on disposing of surgical masks and gloves in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak is crucial but late, an environment expert has said.

Earlier this month, the Environment Ministry issued a 15-point circular explaining how waste should be collected.

It stated that citizens should place used masks and gloves in separate bags for 72 hours before disposing them to minimize health risks for waste collectors.

“We are now facing a situation where there is dense packaging waste mixed with garbage,” said Baran Bozoglu, head of Turkey's Chamber of Environmental Engineers, noting that the use of masks has increased after the government made it compulsory to wear it in public.

He went on to say that although the government had implemented a zero-waste policy, based on which waste should be separated at its source for the purpose of recycling, it was not being followed in the private sector and inside homes.

In order to spread awareness about the new rules, he said, public service messages should be announced.

He added that wastewater is another issue that should be focused on after strains of the virus were found in a water treatment plant in the Netherlands in March.

"The circular on wastewater issued by the ministry is important. All institutions and the private sector that manage wastewater must be sensitive," he added.

Although it is unlikely that water treated at the plant will have strains of coronavirus, he said, based on World Health Organization guidelines the virus can live in wastewater for 48 hours.

Turkey has reported 1,403 deaths from COVID-19, the official name of the virus, and confirmed more than 65,000 cases.

Since appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions.

Data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University shows worldwide infections surpassed 1.98 million, with the death toll above 126,000, while more than 494,000 have recovered.

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