Search

‘Please dispose of it properly’ - plea after PPE waste found on beaches

PUBLISHED: 07:30 06 November 2020

A study by the Marine Conservation Society found disposable PPE was discovered on one third of British beaches (file photo) Picture: GETTY IMAGES

A study by the Marine Conservation Society found disposable PPE was discovered on one third of British beaches (file photo) Picture: GETTY IMAGES

@ancoay

A Suffolk environmental activist has called on residents to avoid using disposable face masks if possible after a study revealed the “concerning” amount of PPE litter on beaches.

Jason Alexander has called for people to use reusable masks if possible Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDJason Alexander has called for people to use reusable masks if possible Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The Marine Conservation Society has found that PPE waste was found on one third of beaches in the country by volunteers taking part in September’s Great British Beach Clean.

Participants in the week-long event were asked to record the number of face masks and gloves that they picked up.

In this year’s beach clean, volunteers were asked to adopt a 100-metre stretch of beach themselves, and organise their own, smaller beach cleans with family friends and “bubbles”, in line with government guidance.

Lizzie Prior, co-ordinator of the Great British Beach Clean, said the volume of PPE discovered on beaches during the event was “certainly of concern”.

She added: “The sharp increase in PPE litter should be a word of warning for what could be a new form of litter polluting our beaches in the future.”

Like many other single-use items, disposable face masks and gloves pose a threat to wildlife on land and at sea.

MORE: Disgusting haul of wipes found alongside River Orwell

You may also want to watch:

Marine animals could mistake face masks and gloves for prey, filling their stomachs with materials which will not break down and could prove to be fatal.

Wildlife can also become entangled in the straps of face masks if they are not cut off.

The news has prompted a prominent environmental campaigner to issue a message to residents in a bid to cut down the levels of PPE that is discarded by litter louts.

Jason Alexander, known as the Wildlife Gadget Man, regularly patrols Ipswich and the surrounding area in a bid to rid Suffolk of litter.

Mr Alexander is urging people to avoid buying disposable masks if possible, instead opting for face coverings that can be washed and reused.

He said: “I’ve found hundreds of masks - I find them every time I go out. I had never come across masks until the lockdown.

“I had one period where I picked up 500 masks in a 10-day period.

“It’s really disappointing that there are so many locations, such as supermarkets, that are promoting single-use, disposable masks. It’s really frustrating.

“If you are using a disposable mask, my advice would be please dispose of it properly.”

MORE: Pillbox ‘stuffed full of rubbish’ as years of litter builds up


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times