Dispose waste responsibly

BUTTERWORTH: They may not be able to see through walls or fly like superheroes in the movies but council cleaners and sweepers often put their lives at great risk to make ours a better one. They are truly our unsung heroes.

Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud said since March 18 last year, nine general workers had fallen victims to the deadly Covid-19.

He said on Penang mainland, a total of 361 MBSP staff members contracted Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic with 20 active cases in the council at present.Hazards of the job: In this file photo, an MBPP worker is sweeping the used face masks thrown at Jalan Sungai Ujong, George Town. — CHAN BOON KAI/The StarHazards of the job: In this file photo, an MBPP worker is sweeping the used face masks thrown at Jalan Sungai Ujong, George Town. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

“Among a total of 3,986 staff members, 98.67% or 3,933 of our staff have received at least one dose. Of these numbers, a total of 2,931 staff members are fully vaccinated while 1,002 have received at least one dose.

“Another 24 staff members, who make up 0.6%, are awaiting vaccination as their appointment dates were postponed,” he said.

On the island, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said some 311 staff members had contracted Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

He said one staff member, whose vaccination was incomplete, died due to Covid-19.

“Now, there are 20 active cases within MBPP. Among our staffers, 81.15% or 2,471 are fully vaccinated while 97.77% or 2,977 have received at least one dose,” he said.

Over the past two weeks, a total of 62 policemen in Penang have been infected with Covid-19.

State police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said during the same period, 108 were placed under quarantine.

Separately, state welfare, caring society and environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said clinical waste such as used self-test kits and face masks should be disposed of properly in transparent plastic bags while other waste should be sanitised before they were disposed of.

“These waste items should be sealed in transparent plastic bags and labelled as clinical waste before they are thrown out.

“This would help our local council workers and recyclers.

“Presently, the waste is thrown into bins along with other waste and this endangers local council workers and their families,” he said.

Phee said as self-test kits were now commonly used by those under quarantine at home or those with symptoms, improper disposal of such waste would be a risk to those handling them.

“There are tens of thousands of households where people are under quarantine right now and there is clinical waste being discarded by them. These households are probably using the kits weekly depending on each individual. It is impossible for the state health authorities to trace and contact these houses to collect the clinical waste.

“On behalf of the council workers, I hope the public will be mindful about how they dispose of clinical waste,” he said.

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