VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — As more people are wearing gloves and masks in public during the coronavirus pandemic, those items are making their way on the ground, in parking lots or streets.
The City of Virginia Beach Waste Management division shared a post about the issue on Facebook and Instagram to raise awareness.
Drew Lankford, the Virginia Beach Public Works spokesperson, explains commercial or grocery store parking lots are usually private property, so grocery store staff will generally pick up littered items.
However, the posts says littered items could be a safety concern, if the items get into the storm drains.
Lankford wants to remind people of the proper way to throw away your gloves and masks.
“Some of it is not recyclable, the gloves are not recyclable. Most of them are rubber and because of what it is … it is not something that you want to reuse,” explained Lankford. “Just be very cautious, put them in separate bags then put them in with the rest of the trash.”
“You’ve got to take very precise steps when your dealing with something that is really unknown,” Lankford adds. “It is a very infectious virus, that is very easy to catch.”
Remember gloves can still pick up germs and spread them to your phone, face, etc. after touching a soiled surface. Health professionals say it’s better to just go glove-less when out doing errands and use hand sanitizer instead. Infectious disease specialist Patricia Dandache, MD told the Cleveland Clinic it’s better to follow these steps instead:
- Do not touch your face.
- Do not touch your phone.
- Practice social distancing while in the store. (Stay at least six feet away from others at all times.)
- Limit the items or surfaces that you need to touch. (Now isn’t the time to scavenge through the entire apple pile.)
- Wear a face mask – and do not touch the mask once it’s on your face.
- Sanitize your hands (if possible) when you transition to your car and immediately wash your hands when you get home after unloading.
10 On Your Side crews have spotted protective gloves littered on the ground while out covering the news, taking a walk or grocery shopping.
Lankford says most families in residential areas have placed gloves and masks in the trash.
City waste management crews are working to make sure trash in neighborhoods are picked up daily. Crews are seeing about a 35% increase in household trash and a 40-45% increase in yard debris, since more people are at home.
Crews wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to disinfect city buildings and city vehicles.
He asks for patience with crews as they work to keep the city clean.