Singapore — A jogger saw 20 used face masks during one part of his run on Saturday and he has taken to social media to draw attention to the problem and to urge people to dispose of them properly.
Mr Adrian Houghton posted photos of the masks, which were mostly on the pavement or on the grass. Some looked barely used, some looked like they were freshly discarded and a few looked like they had been there for some days.
Posting in the group “Reduce, Reuse, Refuse – Singapore”, Mr Houghton made an appeal for the public to share his photos to raise awareness that these masks need to be disposed of properly.
He wrote, “PLEASE SHARE.
Saw these today while on a run. Taken over only a 1.5k part of my run. I’m not suggesting we go picking up other people’s trash right now let’s encourage people to take their masks home and bin them. PLEASE SHARE.”
Mr Houghton mentioned, obviously irritated, in a comment to his post that he has seen “20 in 1.5k gggrrrr”. And in another comment he mentioned exactly where he had seen the discarded masks: “Pasir Ris Drive 8, Tampines Ave 12 and a small stretch of Pasir Ris Drive 1.”
His post has been shared more than 700 times. Those commenting on it said they had also seen discarded masks, and mentioned where. One person had even picked up a full bag of masks.
Experts say that masks can carry respiratory secretions. If a person who was wearing them was sick, the person who picks them up to throw them away could also get sick. So this has to be done very carefully. The masks should not be touched with the bare hands.
People should also not re-use masks they find, no matter how new these look. And people should always make sure to wash their hands before they put their masks on, as well as after they take them off.
This is not the first time this problem has been highlighted on social media.
On Feb 9, a netizen named LiLynn Wan wrote on Facebook, “Dear Singapore — please STOP discarding your used face masks on the ground. If you are concerned enough about the spread of the coronavirus that you are wearing a mask, it makes no sense to litter like this.”
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