Delegate calls for proper treatment of used masks
Wang Liping, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee from Shanghai and vice president of the China Television Artists Association, has proposed safely treating discarded masks at the ongoing "Two Sessions."
Masks have almost become a necessity for Chinese when leaving their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the soaring number of masks discarded by people every day can cause problems like polluting the environment and spreading disease if not treated properly.
Discarded masks are categorized as "hazardous waste" and can be divided into three types: those from hospitals, quarantine sites and people's daily use.
Wang found that treating these masks and the level of risk awareness vary by region.
Some areas' garbage-sorting systems are not comprehensive and less capable of treating disposed-of masks, while many residents are not sure if such masks should be thrown away or burnt.
Rural areas face more challenges with this issue, because people's houses are scattered and collecting masks is difficult due to labor and technical limitations.
In a few areas, scavengers have used disposed-of masks taken from garbage bins, and criminals have resold such masks.
Wang suggests much stricter supervision should be provided to oversee the safe disposal of used masks. For starters, she's calling for the regional people's congresses and governments to integrate relevant provisions from different laws and regulations and set specific guidelines for used-mask management.
Secondly, she thinks the treatment of harmful waste should be improved based on the current garbage-sorting system, and a comprehensive system to properly manage used-mask disposal should be created.
Wang also said mask manufacturers should be encouraged to develop biodegradable products, while those collecting and treating masks should enhance research on how to convert waste into things like auxiliary materials after being completely disinfected.
Education on the dangers of used masks and correct ways of treating them should also be promoted among the public, Wang added.