TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) of South Jakarta branch warned of the negative potentials of medical masks that can be harmful to the environment as they take hundreds of years to decompose.
“This surgical mask takes decades to completely decompose in the soil, there is even a study that says it can be more than 100 years,” said the South Jakarta IDI chairman, M Yadi Permana, in Jakarta, Wednesday, November 4, 2020.
The waste of face masks for medical purposes, including surgical masks, that are not disposed of without proper treatment poses danger. Besides, disposable masks used by the public should not be littered carelessly.
“We should destroy surgical masks right after use to prevent it from being misuses. TV stations have covered the news that those masks are recycled carelessly, not under the proper mechanism. The masks are just collected for reuse,” Yadi said.
According to him, disposable surgical masks must only be used by health workers as mandated by the World Health Organization (WHO). The used masks will be treated as B3 waste (Hazardous and Toxic Materials).
South Jakarta IDI appeals to the public not to use medical masks. People are advised to use a two-layer, washable cloth mask which is now widely available on the market. “Two-layer cloth masks are used by healthy people under 60 years of age,” said Yadi.