Updated: Dec 31, 2020
We produced the short message below to help inform you if the real damage being done by people turning used masks and gloves into trash on the streets and other public places.
Masks and gloves protect you from the spread of COVID-19. But after use, we are finding them on beaches, in parking lots and on sidewalks. Its the newest, fastest-growing form of environmental pollution on the planet. When @WoodieLesesne went on location to shoot the message, masks were found there as well.
Used masks and gloves, which cannot be recycled, pose a problem for the environment. As more people wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, more personal protective equipment, or P.P.E., has been found as litter around the world.
The issue has prompted environmental organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, to sound the alarm. Some local governments, have instituted fines for littering involving masks and gloves, and some police departments, have warned that improperly discarding P.P.E. is a crime.
Like other waste, a mask could be mistaken for food by wildlife. A heavy storm could wash it into a storm drain or a river and eventually the ocean, posing a risk for marine ecosystems. Please don't litter. It makes a bad situation worse. Improperly discarding P.P.E. is a crime. Be sure to do your part and place your used P.P.E. in a bag, fold it up and dispose of it.