When the health police began requiring the everyday use of personal protection equipment, or PPE, it was just a matter of time before the disposable gloves, wipes, and masks would begin showing up with the rest of the roadside trash. That's human nature. People are basically slobs who think nothing of tossing their garbage all over the planet.

Everywhere you look you see discarded PPE. The beaches. The parks. Street gutters. Parking lots. No place is safe from the pandemic polluters who will just toss their waste anywhere and everywhere. It's sickening.

Barry Richard / Townsquare Media

While there is no solid evidence that discarded masks pose a health threat, they do threaten the environment.

Helen Lowman, Chief Executive of Keep America Beautiful, recently expressed her concerns about PPE litter to the New York Times. “This pandemic is causing the face of litter to change,” said Lowman. “We’re seeing a real shift in what is in the litter stream.”

Gary Stokes, the founder of the marine conservation group OceansAsia, told the Times, “It’s quite alarming where these are ending up.”

Stokes said the PPE waste poses a serious threat to marine ecosystems. “We’ve seen it already with whales and turtles with plastic bags, and with masks, it’s the same thing,” he said.

I don't understand why everything we touch has to wind up on the ground. The wearing of this personal protective equipment is bad enough. We shouldn't have to see it all over the environment as well.

Barry Richard / TSM Photo

Wearing disposable PPE is a wise thing to do. Throwing it in the trash can when you are done with it is a pretty good idea, too.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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