People caught throwing away used masks and gloves could face hefty fines, politicians warn

Some local politicians are considering hefty fines for people caught throwing away used gloves and masks in public, with several sightings of disposable items littering Metro Vancouver streets.

Health professionals believe this is thoughtless and irresponsible behavior, as these items pose a real danger of transmitting the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.

“It’s not just littering, it’s also selfish,” Vancouver Council said. Pete Fry.

“If they’re contaminated enough that you don’t want to throw them in your personal trash, which people obviously don’t do, then you’re kind of passing the problem on to someone else.”

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart echoed Fry’s comments in a Facebook video.

“If you think something is contaminated, leaving it for others is the most selfish thing you can do,” he said, adding that the city was considering hefty fines.

The City of Vancouver has said it may do the same if the situation worsens. Neither municipality has determined the amount of a possible fine.

Doctors say discarded masks and gloves can contain the coronavirus if the wearer has COVID-19 or has touched a surface carrying the virus.

“Multiple particles of the virus (could) be there and stay there for days, and the poor soul who has to throw out the trash will be exposed,” said Dr. Mayam Zeineddin, a Vancouver physician.

Ben Nelms/CBCBen Nelms/CBC

Ben Nelms/CBC

Doctors say masks should be removed from the back first, while gloves should be removed from the inside out before being safely thrown into the trash. Users should then wash their hands thoroughly.

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