Street masks and gloves threaten countries of the Middle East


During his recent move to Beirut, at the height of the epidemic “Covid-19”, photographer Omar Franjieh was shocked by the large number of gags and gloves thrown in the streets, so he published via Facebook two hundred photos he took with his lens of protective medical equipment thrown to the ground to raise awareness of the dangers of these practices.Franjieh titled these photos as “invaders in Beirut”, with the aim of sending an awareness message about the health and environmental risks of throwing these medical waste on the streets.
From Baghdad to Gaza, residents of many protective masks and gloves widely used to protect against the emerging “Corona” virus, immediately after their use, throw up the pollution, according to Agence France-Presse.

However, the main concern is that this protective equipment turns into a health hazard by throwing it on the streets. Whereas the virus usually transmits through contact with humans through droplets that are transferred to the airways, studies have shown that it can withstand some surfaces for several days, which means that gags and gloves are dangerous to anyone who comes into contact with them.

Since the outbreak of the virus in China at the end of last year, Middle Eastern countries have recorded 7,711 deaths out of 233,000, and 522 cases of the “Covid-19” epidemic.

In some countries, some supermarkets force shoppers to wear single-use gloves. Many of these gloves are removed in the parking lot after they leave the store and throw it away.

In a panic among consumers who are rushing to buy these products, pharmacies have reported shortages of some equipment, including gloves, masks and sterilization fluids.
This inconsistency was recorded despite the division over the efficacy of these products.

The World Health Organization notes that regular hand-washing is more effective than wearing gloves in preventing the virus. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that ordinary people put on washable protective protective masks in public places, thereby restricting the use of single-use breathing apparatus and surgical masks to medical personnel and other individuals in the groups most at risk.

In the Gaza Strip, on the Mediterranean, used gags and gloves used to cover the already polluted seashore.

Most of these products are designed for single use and are not recyclable. It also does not disintegrate organically, which makes it a source of pollution, and a potential danger to marine life, if it ends up in the sea.

Some shop owners have taken initiatives to collect this waste and put it in containers, but the beach suffers from chronic pollution, as many of the poor Palestinian residents throw their waste at sea.

Lina Odeh, while taking a walk with her husband, stands to collect some waste left on the beach. “I noticed masks and gloves on the waterfront, and I put them in the garbage container, because these things pollute the beach,” says the 30-year-old.

Her husband, Jamal Odeh, explains: “There is no general culture to clean the beach in Gaza, but some people are taking an initiative to collect medical waste, including masks, and put it in garbage containers.”

But he regrets that “many wear masks and gloves, and then throw them on the ground.”


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