Updated: Jan 20
COVID-19 has brought to the fore workers we probably took for granted. Health workers, checkout cashiers, mailmen, delivery agents to name a few. People who risked their lives in the wake of the pandemic to ensure those services we can’t live without are available, have expanded our understanding of heroism.
But I bet there’s a group of workers you still haven’t thought about.
Have you ever gone an extra week with a full trashcan? Gross right? Disgusting? We can all relate to how much of an inconvenience unmanaged waste can be. Worse yet, it extends to a health hazard as it piles.
Waste workers have continued to work despite the pandemic.
In many African countries, waste workers include municipal appointed waste collectors, sorters and informal sector waste pickers who recycle waste to earn income.
Globally, only 16-21% of workers in the waste management sector are formally employed. Informal workers are more likely to work without complete protective gear.
With research showing that the corona virus can live from 4 hours to 3 days on surfaces, waste workers face potential risks of exposure to the virus during waste collection and handling.
Here are 3 ways you can help waste workers minimize the risk of exposure to the virus as they perform essential services:
1. Sort your waste before dumping:
Label trash containers to help users sort trash easily. By doing this, you reduce contact waste workers have with trash, thereby minimizing their risk of contracting the virus from waste handling.
2. Separate contaminated trash:
Wrap contaminated trash in layers of bags and possibly label before dumping.
3. Leave contaminated trash for 3 days before handing over to waste workers.
Are you a policymaker interested in how you can keep waste workers safe?
Read more: Here
Author Credit: Ehi Idoko (guest writer)