The sight of dirty, germ-infested face masks strewn throughout parks and along roadways has many Richmond residents taking to social media expressing their disgust.
Paulik Park, between Heather and Ash streets, was a particular area of concern for one Richmond resident who spoke with the Richmond News.
“Masks are sitting on the road and at the park where children and dogs still visit occasionally,” they said, adding that they “used sticks to pick up the masks and throw them out because the sight of them just screamed safety.”
“I’m not against anyone using masks, but they should be more careful about how the items are thrown away. This is concerning for my neighbourhood because people who wear masks, and it doesn’t mean they have the (COVID-19) virus, still have germs on them. It’s for the safety of everybody.”
Andrea Lee Hamilton, spokesperson for the City of Richmond, said they are seeing an increase of used face masks, tissues and gloves being “littered in the community and being disposed of improperly in the garbage.
“We are treating this as a COVID-19 community health safety risk and taking it extremely seriously,” said Hamilton, adding that city waste collection crews are cleaning up the items as quickly as possible. However, this is also a serious safety risk to them as well, she added.
She told the Richmond News that the littering of loose “bio-hazardous hygiene materials” is a safety concern and they should always be put in plastic bags, sealed and then placed in the garbage as they are not recyclable.
Individuals can face fines of up to $1,000 for illegally dumping garbage in Richmond, according to the city’s website.
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