The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), Arlington, Virginia, says it has sent a request to Peter Gaynor, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), asking that the agency list waste and recycling as a priority industry with vendors of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This request is made to continue a high level of public health not only related to the COVID-19 pandemic but the other numerous public health issues that result when regular waste collection does not occur,” says NWRA President and CEO Darrel Smith. “Our workers are on the frontlines making sure that the waste that is generated during this health crisis is disposed of properly. They cannot do that without the appropriate PPE as indicated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).”
This request builds on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designation of solid waste workers as part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, the association says. The DHS designation was made in response to requests made by NWRA to the secretary. DHS is the parent agency of FEMA. The DHS designated the industry under its Public Works category and under its Transportation and Logistics category.