People are leaving their dirty gloves and used masks in parking lots, on the side of the road and other inappropriate places, according to the Washington Post. “I have plenty of trash cans,” said Steve Melton, a groundskeeper in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “But, they throw their gloves, their masks, everything that they are done with, down in my parking lot.” The debris could threaten wildlife and essential workers who need to clean up after everyone. There’s evidence that contaminated particles could remain on surfaces for hours or days, which could put people at risk. In addition, because used gloves and masks aren’t biodegradable, they could be swept into storm drains and find their way into waterways. Turtles, seabirds and other animals could ingest them.
On Monday, Yorktown, N.Y., doubled their littering fine; it’s now $1,000 for a first offense. “It’s not like they’re throwing out candy wrappers,” Yorktown Supervisor Matt Slater said in a statement. “They’re throwing out medical waste — used rubber gloves and face masks that could potentially be contaminated with coronavirus.”