Front Line Workers: We Appreciate and Know How Essential They Are
The declared COVID-19 pandemic that finally knocked on our door has made the importance of the chain of first response to the health crisis that goes beyond doctors and nurses highly visible. There we meet the police officers, port security, supermarket and food chain personnel, among others. However, the team that goes from house to house, to hospitals, restaurants and other locations collecting all the waste, that has increased even more during the quarantine, has not yet been made visible. There is still a very important “unsung hero” amongst our ranks, and it’s about time we recognize their crucial role, I’m talking about our sanitation workers.
Their work is extremely essential to avoid outbreaks of infection and diseases that would make the present situation even worse or create a subsequent one that is not currently in our radar. There are reports that show that in 1918, when the world was fighting the Spanish Flu, major cities in the U.S. went through a crisis in solid waste crisis that in some cases had people walking over piles of garbage. In the absence of sanitation workers to pick up residential and medical waste, extreme measures had to be taken such as covering piles of garbage on the side of the road with dirt, to mitigate the health issues that the lack of adequate management of waste brought.
In that whole chain there are people involved, that nobody applauds or mentions because we really don’t meet them and are taken for granted. But the work these men and women do, be it on the streets, in their trucks, transfer stations or landfills, is as important as the work of the many other professionals who every day are facing an invisible enemy while they do their work to protect us from further harm. It is important that we take our measures when disposing waste but also, for employers to put in place plans to keep them active, healthy and doing their jobs.