Discarded face masks cause dangerous increase in litter in streets and parks


RESIDENTS are being urged not to throw away face masks following a sudden increase in the number being found littering Warrington’s streets and parks.
Single-use face coverings should be disposed of properly – and that usually means taking them home, says the borough council.
The rules currently state that face coverings should be worn in enclosed public spaces, such as supermarkets, indoor shopping centres and on public transport. But this appears to have led to many being thrown away in the street and the borough’s public health and environment chiefs are reminding people to dispose of used face coverings safely and responsibly.
If you need to throw away used, single-use face coverings, you can dispose of them in your black bin at home or at work or a litter bin if you’re outside.
They should not be put in a recycling bin as they can’t be recycled. If there is no handy litter bin they should be taken home.
According to the council, there is no need to put face coverings and other protective equipment in an extra bag or store them for a time before throwing them away unless someone in the household is self-isolating at home. If this is the case, you should double-bag and then store for 72 hours before putting in a bin bag in your general waste bin. Remember to remove your face covering carefully and avoid touching the inside of it. After you remove your face covering, always wash your hands or use hand sanitiser.
Cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection, Cllr Judith Guthrie (pictured) said: “Over the last few weeks, we’ve noticed a rise in the number of disposable face masks being found discarded on our streets or turning up in bushes, parkland and in our waterways.
“Leaving potentially infected, used face coverings for someone else to pick up and dispose of, is unacceptable and is putting our staff and others at unnecessary risk. These masks can go in general waste bins at home, or litter bins if you are out and about, so please don’t just drop them.”
Cabinet member for Public Health, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, added: “The merits of wearing face coverings are clear and they act as another line of defence to prevent the transmission of coronavirus. We’re still getting used to wearing face coverings, but please make sure to dispose of them in the proper way if you are wearing single-use protective equipment.
“Alternatively, wearing a washable cloth face covering is an easy way to avoid having to use disposables altogether, whilst playing your part to protect others from the virus. The Big Community Sew and gov.uk website have guidance on how you can make your own reusable face covering if you haven’t bought one in a shop or online.
“Please, remember to keep wearing face coverings on public transport, in supermarkets and shops, cinemas, libraries, places of worship and other settings where social distancing can be difficult.”
Face coverings are one of many ways to help protect yourself and others from the virus. If, however, you do happen to have any symptoms of coronavirus, even mildly – including a new, persistent cough, high temperature or loss of normal taste/ smell – self-isolate and book a test immediately at www.warrington.gov.uk/get-tested-coronavirus


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