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Remove the mask from the face gently so as to not disturb liquid and solid contaminants on the mask. Put it in a plastic bag (use the type of plastic bag permitted) such as a grocery shopping bag or a zip lock bag and tie or seal it tightly. .. Discard the bag straight away in a closed bin. Wash hands immediately with soap and water or clean hands with 60% alcohol-based hand rub for at least 20 seconds. Only then, put on a new mask.
Masks (and other personal protective equipment) that are used in hospitals or quarantine or isolation facilities constitute medical waste and should be treated accordingly. They should be decontaminated and incinerated at high temperatures in dedicated facilities.
Masks used at home by persons in self-isolation who are otherwise well, should not be thrown on the roads or discarded randomly anywhere. If they are thrown on the roads, they may be picked up and either re-used or sold to be recycled. Used masks should also not be mixed with other household waste.
The mask with cough secretions and sputum may be potentially infectious. They then become a new source of infection and put garbage collectors and others at risk of infection.
These should instead be put in separate containers and transported to incineration plants.
Dedicated mask collection centers and incineration plants should be identified or set up. Appropriate steps are needed to prevent their recycling.
Local bodies or RWAs can be involved in this drive. Special trash cans can be set up in local communities. People who collect garbage or clean roads should be provided face masks and gloves as a preventive measure.
The steps taken by the government to create public awareness about protecting oneself from corona virus are laudable.
Hence, there is also an urgent need to alert the public about discarded masks as potential source of corona virus and educate them about appropriate disposal of used face masks. This is crucial not only for their own safety but also for the safety of others.
Currently In India all corona confirmed and suspect cases including close contacts are under direct follow up with the government so they are facilitating is mask disposal also.