Subscribe

PD Editorial: An epidemic of littering

Editorials represent the views of The Press Democrat editorial board and The Press Democrat as an institution. The editorial board and the newsroom operate separately and independently of one another.

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.

You can send letters to the editor to letters@pressdemocrat.com.

Editorials represent the views of The Press Democrat editorial board and The Press Democrat as an institution. The editorial board and the newsroom operate separately and independently of one another.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette