The Environmental Health Officers Alliance-Ghana has called on government to develop guidelines for the disposal of face masks, used tissue paper and hand gloves to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Mr Yaw Akwaa Lartey, the President of the Alliance, said this had become necessary in view of the environmental officers’ observation when working in the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.
He said children picked, wore or played with some of those used face masks when disposed of indiscriminately.
Mr Lartey, who made the call at a press conference in Accra, said used masks, which were dumped in water bodies, on streets, and in drains were dangerous to human health, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Members at the onset of the pandemic communicated to us their observations, concerns and recommendations on how to effectively deal with the pandemic.”
“It is our fervent hope that the implementation of these measures will go a long way to place our dear country to gain an upper hand in the fight against the disease,” he said.
He explained that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all household waste is classified as suspected infectious waste.
Consequently all landfill sites, final disposal sites, refuse dumps, refuse trucks or “borla” tricycles and taxis, communal containers and household bins are classified as infected areas under Section 3 of the Public Health Act, 2012 ( Act 851), he said.
Thus all operators or workers of waste management services in both private and public sectors must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while performing their duties, Mr Lartey said.
He indicated that it was incumbent on the MMDAs to support the Environmental Health and Sanitation Units to effectively enforce those requirements as stipulated in Section 54 of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851).
He said all vehicles that lifted communal refuse containers and household bins from the communities must be covered with tarpaulin before transporting to the final disposal or landfill site.
“Also, these vehicles must be disinfected after disposing of their suspected infectious wastes. In other words the buckets of tricycles, communal containers and the trucks must be disinfected before returning from the site back to town,” he added.
He said public health in Ghana would be greatly enhanced if steps were taken to increase the collaboration among key stakeholders as outlined in Section 173 of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851).
“All these must be facilitated by Registered Environmental Health Officers also known as Public Health Enforcement Agents,” he added.
He appealed to government to consider disinfecting lorry stations or terminals more often, especially the concrete seats, as they are means of spreading the disease.
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