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

Just Posted

Video invites visitors back to valley

Chamber video says: “Hey, hey! Come back and play, play.”

Invermere deer ‘hoofs’ woman and dog

Aggressive deer incidents increase this year, as woman and dog left bruised and injured

School District 6 nominated Summit Youth Hub for award

Hub nominated for a B.C Principals’ and Vice Principals’ Association (BCPVPA) Partnership Award

Invermere library reopens for summer

Summer Reading Club and Pop-up Story Time return

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Most Read