By Elesha Nicholls
COVID-19 is able to be passed on through an infected persons cough, sneeze, or from their breath. By touching your eyes, nose or mouth, it gives the virus leeway into the mucous membranes of your throat, and in the span of 14 days you may start to feel flu like symptoms such as a dry cough sore throat, or a fever. Because of this it’s been advised to wear personal protective equipment such as disposable masks and gloves.
Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can see almost everyone wearing some type of protective wear in the form of masks and gloves. Many wear it to protect themselves when they go out to run daily errands, as they do not want to get themselves or their family members infected. Though this is logical and has even been promoted by health officials, people are causing pollution by not disposing off their protective wear properly.
At many essential services such as banks, take out restaurants and grocery stores, the streets, grass areas and parking lots are littered with used gloves and masks. The littering of these items are extremely bio-hazardous and dangerous to not only humans, but to animals who may come into contact and accidentally eat them.
Cities across Canada and the U.S. are doing their part to combat littering by threatening or enforcing fines if citizens are caught littering. Metro Vancouver mayor Richard Stewart, suggested fines of $10,000. In a Facebook post he wrote: “You think that your gloves might have been in contact with the virus. As a result, you discard them rather than put them in a garbage bag in your car. This exhibits some especially selfish and antisocial attitudes. If you think something is contaminated, then discard it properly.”
Many health officials and those working in the health sector are expressing their disdain for the public using gloves as they fear cross-contamination could be taking place. Many of them are urging people to go gloveless and to just wash and sanitize hands regularly.
Cloth masks are the environmentally friendly way of protecting yourself. They are reusable, washable, and some come in stylish colourways. If everyone were to use cloth masks, COVID-19 related littering would be cut in almost half. People are even starting to create their own at home with old clothes or fabric, and there are many DIY videos on YouTube showing you how to make them.
COVID-19 is already affecting all aspects of our life. And now, because of the recklessness of people it’s now affecting our environment. Remember to always discard your disposable face masks and gloves in a waste bin, continue to wash your hands and use sanitizer periodically and stay safe!