Health ministry suggests $300 fine for face mask littering

By Le Nga   February 15, 2020 | 04:20 am PT
Health ministry suggests $300 fine for face mask littering
Free face masks are given to the public at a railway station in Hanoi, February 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy,
The Health Ministry has suggested fines of VND3-7 million ($129-301) for those littering face masks putting others at risk of the novel coronavirus infection.

While the Vietnamese government and international agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) have recommended that people use face masks in crowded places to protect themselves from the highly infectious Covid-19, they have also provided guidance on their disposal.

Users have been advised to hold the elastic band and take them off from behind the ears, remove the mask from the face and discard it in a closed bin.

However, many people have ignored this advice, littering the used masks indiscriminately on the streets, spoiling the environment and increasing the danger of infections spreading, undermining public safety, the ministry said in a statement sent Friday to the ministries of environment and public securities, as well as the administration of all cities and provinces.

The health ministry asked each locality to ensure that people discard used face masks in the right places.

It suggested fining people throwing the masks on streets, sidewalks, drainage system and other public spaces between VND3-7 million following regulations imposing financial penalties for environmental pollution.

The localities should also arrange enough closed trash bins in public areas, the ministry said.

Vietnam has recorded 16 infection cases, seven of whom have been discharged from hospitals.

The global death toll had climbed to 1,526, three of them outside mainland China.

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