COVID-19: the Middle East, gloves and masks are polluting the cities and nature

COVID-19: au Moyen-Orient, gants et masques polluent villes et nature

Walking through the deserted streets of Beirut confined, Omar Frangieh has noticed around him masks and plastic gloves, used to protect the new coronavirus and then thrown away without qualms, at the risk of polluting the cities and the nature.

The photographer of lebanon has taken more than 200 photos of these objects before gathering his shots on Facebook in an album entitled ” invaders of Beirut “.

From Baghdad to Gaza city, the masks and gloves are in high demand in the countries of the Middle East, whose populations hope for them to limit the spread of the pandemic COVID-19.

But as the “invaders” are often single-use, they are then discarded by their users, sometimes even on the floor.

“The main concern is that this protective equipment can become a health problem by polluting the streets of Beirut “, is cause for alarm Mr. Frangieh with the AFP.

The virus is transmitted mainly by droplets emitted by humans when they speak, sneeze or yawn, but can also survive on some surfaces for several days, according to scientific studies.

Those who clean these “invaders” the streets of the lebanese capital could thus be contaminated by the masks and gloves soiled, said Mr Frangieh, whose country has officially 870 cases of the disease COVID-19 and 26 deaths.

– Car parks and beaches polluted -In saudi Arabia, where 40 000 cases were recorded by the authorities, some supermarkets require their clients to use disposable gloves.

Once their shopping was done, the Saudis will abandon them in the parking lot of the hotel and the hot wind of the desert the sprinkles in the cities.

But, while the pharmacies of the country are doing in the face of persistent shortages of masks and gloves, the debate continues about their true effectiveness.

For the world Health Organization (WHO), it is more useful to wash the hands regularly.

And the american Centre of disease prevention known to wear instead of the gauze masks in public, to let their version disposable for caregivers and other workers in the front line of the epidemic.

In the palestinian enclave of Gaza under israeli blockade, the beach, usually already heavily polluted, is now also littered d’ ” invaders “.

In a gale of wind, they end up in the sea. Non-recyclable, they will take years to dissolve in the water and may here there of putting in danger the flora and sea fauna.

Some traders and passers-by have taken the initiative to collect and dispose of in dumpsters, as Lina Ouda, who came to walk on the beach with her husband.

“I noticed that there were masks and gloves to the ground on the ledge and I put them in the trash because it pollutes the beach,” explains the 30-year old woman.

“There is no general education for the cleaning of beaches in Gaza, but some people do it to “themselves,” adds her husband, Jamal Ouda.

But “many others walking around wearing masks and gloves and (at the end of their walk) and throw them on the floor,” he says.

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