Proper disposal of PPE keeps wildlife, pets safe

Proper disposal of PPE can keep wildlife, pets safe
Updated: Nov. 19, 2020 at 8:10 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there are growing concerns about the equipment we need to help protect us from the virus.

Leaders said they’re seeing empty sanitizer bottles along with used gloves and face masks on the street.

These are creating both a biohazard and an environmental hazard.

That’s why experts advise, if you wear disposable masks, throw them away at home, but before you do, cut the strings on the sides.

Much like the plastic holding packs of soda, these strings can be harmful to any animal, even a common house pet.

Strings can restrict their breathing or become tangled around their legs.

If eaten, they can even cause them to choke.

To help avoid this, cut the strings.

Beth Gorman, Senior Program Manager for the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, said the danger to animals isn’t the only negative impact of this litter.

“Any kind of solid waste can negatively affect property values, the overall impression of our community by people visiting and even people who live here,” Gorman said.

That’s why it’s important for everyone to take responsibility.

There are easy ways everyone can help:

  • Never throw your mask on the ground.
  • Be cautious with your household pets and keep masks safely stored away when not in use.
  • Choose to wear a reusable mask.

Experts said cloth masks pose less of a threat to wildlife because they break down easier and do not have the chemicals the plastic masks have.

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