THERE are no plans to review laws on the disposal of used non-clinical face masks and protective personal equipment (PPE), says Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (pic).
The Environment and Water Minister said at present, only face masks and PPE categorised as clinical waste were deemed scheduled waste, which must be disposed of at sites approved by the ministry.
“But the disposal of plastic and face masks used by the public at premises like wet markets, supermarkets, offices and factories for protection against infections are categorised as domestic waste, not clinical waste.
“These can be disposed of as domestic waste, to be managed by local councils or the Housing and Local Government Ministry, ” said Tuan Ibrahim.
Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (BN-Machang) had asked whether special disposal sites would be set up in all states to handle used facemasks, plastic gloves and PPE.
Tuan Ibrahim acknowledged that there had been a 20% increase in the use of PPE since the Covid-19 outbreak in March.
He noted that a review of the law on disposal of non-clinical PPE could lead to more expense and confusion.
“There are two types of PPE, namely for clinical and non-clinical use.
“There is no need to categorise non-clinical PPE such as those used in salons as clinical waste, as this would result in higher cost and confusion among the public, ” he said.
Clinical waste included items that contained human or animal tissue, blood, body fluids, excretions, drugs, pharmaceutical products, soiled swabs or dressings, syringes and needles that could pose a danger coming into contact with people, he said.
He added that clinical waste from hospitals and designated Covid-19 centres were disposed of according to the regulations under the Environment Quality Act 1974 and the Environment Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulation 2005.
He noted that those who breached the regulations on the disposal of clinical waste could face a maximum fine of RM500,000, five years jail or both, upon conviction.
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