PD Editorial: An epidemic of littering
Anyone who walks in parks, or even on neighborhood streets, has seen them, scads of them: discarded masks, gloves and disinfectant wipes. The problem is evident throughout the community, but it’s hardly limited to Sonoma County or the North Bay. COVID litter complaints are rolling in across the country and around the world. Much of this detritis finds its way into storm drains and streams and, eventually, oceans. Masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment ranked 12th among the 50 categories of trash collected during this year’s coastal cleanup program, according to the California Coastal Commission.
Many of the discards contain plastic, which can go full circle. Mark Benfield, an oceanography professor at Louisiana State University, told CBS News the plastic breaks down and gets ingested by small aquatic animals. “If a human being eats a fish that’s consumed a lot of smaller animals,” he said, “then those pollutants can get into our bodies.” Remember that — and find a trash can for your used masks and gloves.
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