'Environmental frontliners': Garbage collectors in Mandaue get COVID-19 protective gear

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 13) — Garbage collectors in Mandaue, Cebu can now protect themselves from the risk of contracting COVID-19 while doing their jobs.

The garbage collectors — hailed as environmental frontliners in the COVID-19 fight — have received 1,600 sets of personal protective equipment or PPE. They are vulnerable to the novel coronavirus and other hazardous infections that may be present in solid wastes they collect from hospitals, healthcare facilities, and homes.

"If there are medical frontliners, the garbage collectors are environmental frontliners. These environmental warriors are also putting their lives in line for our people and our country to ensure that we control this global pandemic,” Environment Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda said on Monday.

The donation from the Environmental Management Bureau in Central Visayas or DENR-EMB 7 consisted of 60 double and single respirators with cartridges, 104 pairs of high-duty reusable safety gloves, and 1,500 pairs of disposable gloves all worth a total of P60,000.

Additional PPE consisting of coveralls worth P100,000 and respirators worth P77,000 will be turned over to the local government of Mandaue in the next two weeks, DENR added.

DENR-EMB 7 said it is working on a system to improve the handling, collection, and disposal of solid wastes from barangay health centers and households with suspect or probable cases to prevent contamination.

Central Visayas has recorded 36 COVID-19 cases, including eight deaths as of April 10.