A used protective face mask is seen discarded on the ground in Vancouver, B.C. in May 2020. Protective face masks along with other personal protective equipment have become the new litter being found on the ground during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Dispose of your face masks safely, top doctor urges Canadians

Leaving masks lying around is bad for both environment and transmission

Canada’s chief public health officer voiced her approval of the growing number of Canadians wearing face masks but urged people to dispose of them properly in her Sunday (June 14) statement.

Dr. Theresa Tam cited a Leger poll released Tuesday (June 9) that showed 51 per cent of Canadians wear face masks to the grocery store, up eight per cent from two weeks prior.

However, Tam raised concerns raised over litter from face masks and disposable gloves.

“Single use masks should be replaced as soon as they get damp, soiled or crumpled and disposed of properly in a lined garbage bin,” she said.

“Do not leave discarded masks in shopping carts or on the ground where other people may come into contact with them.”

Leaving masks lying around both contributes to litter and the risk of infection for other people, Tam added.

Tam reminded Canadians that wearing a mask does not mean they should leave the house when sick but that she encouraged a “face covering as extra layer of protection” in addition to washing hands and physical distancing.

As of Sunday, Canada had 98,410 test positive cases, including 8,107 deaths and 59,354 people who have recovered from COVID-19. More than 2.1 million people have been tested for the virus since the pandemic began and Tam said an average of 33,000 were tested each day last week, with two per cent testing positive.

READ MORE: Gloves and masks become problem litter as COVID-19 prompts people to cover up


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CanadaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tofino’s Race for the Blue fishing derby casts philanthropic net

‘Thankful Thursday’ garners over 7,200 cans of tuna for local food banks

Tofino General Hospital Foundation raising funds for new equipment

“The doctors and nurses are worked off their feet.”

Ucluelet Co-op celebrates major renovations

“It’s just a job well-done.”

Surfrider Pacific Rim: Flash Clean Fridays

Grab your reusable gloves, bags and buckets and join Surfrider Pacific Rim’s newest initiative.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation says more resources needed to keep Tribal Parks open during pandemic

Tribal Park Allies program needs more buy-in from Tofino businesses.

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read