ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – More and more people are using latex gloves and masks when out and about to help protect against COVID-19 but it’s creating a new, messy problem: littering.
From masks to gloves, to sanitizing wipes, these items can be found scattered around store parking lots across town. There were at least a dozen of these items in the parking lot of Walmart on Zuni and San Mateo.
It’s not just you’re littering this virus everywhere, you’re setting a bad example for everyone, the children are watching for sure,” said Zoe Zou, a Walmart shopper. “It’s bad enough the virus is going around, we don’t need to ruin our environment because of that.”
The city calls the careless trend “disappointing,” saying it puts essential workers at risk.
“The frustration with that is the people that are going to be picking those things up in the parking lots of stores are the people that are already having to be at a really high risk because they are still essential employees, still coming to work,” said Dr. Mark DiMenna with Albuquerque’s Environmental Health Department. “And we’d like people to really be grateful for the effort that they’re putting out to still be at work.”
While all litter is bad, this type of litter is extra frustrating.
“In this case, it’s litter that, you know, when people have to pick it up and come into contact with it, they’re putting themselves at risk becoming infected because they’re handling something that is the barrier between, you know, virus and people said Dr. DiMenna.
According to the CDC, the virus is mostly transmitted person-to-person but some evidence does suggest the virus can live on surfaces for days, depending on the material.
This type of littering is being reported across the country. Littering in Albuquerque could cost someone a couple of hundred dollars.
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