disposable gloves toronto

People need to stop littering disposable gloves and masks in Toronto

With cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus now rising at an exponential rate in Toronto, many residents are going above and beyond recommended precautions to keep themselves healthy — to the detriment of our environment.

Single-use latex gloves and N95 respirator masks have been flying off the shelves in recent weeks, despite public health officials stressing that they're not necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In fact, people who've been hoarding these resources are now being encouraged to donate them through PPE drives for front-line health care workers as hospital supplies dwindle.

How many Toronto residents will actually do this remains to be seen, but enough are still using — and recklessly disposing of — sterile gloves and surgical masks every day to create one heck of a mess.

Video footage from the parking lot of a Walmart in Maple, Ontario, shows just how gross some shoppers are getting when it comes to disposing of their protective supplies.

"Because of what's been going on, the lot seems to just be littered with gloves... plastic gloves everywhere, masks everywhere," states Toronto resident Josh Pennock in the clip as he marvels at the litter around him.

"This is not containing the virus people... this is polluting, ths is disgusting... the whole parking lot is covered with gloves and masks and this is gross."

"I mean, there's panic, but this is wrong and this has to stop," continues Pennock in the video as he shoots footage of disposed gloves on the ground. "The whole parking lot is littered with plastic gloves — and where are they going? They're blowing into the fields... It's actually appalling."

Shared over the weekend, Pennock's video had been viewed more than 200,000 times on Facebook alone as of Tuesday afternoon, with nearly 1,000 comments left under it — many of them from other residents who've been noticing the same phenomenon.

"It's not just the parking lots," wrote one commenter in response to Pennock's video. "I also noticed gloves and masks on the sidewalks. People need to dispose of them properly."

"I totally agree with that," said another."I was out delivering the mail today and I saw all kinds of rubber gloves just littered on the ground. I don't get it what in the hell is wrong with these people."

With 239 cases of COVID-19 currently listed in Toronto, the city and province both remain under a state of emergency.

Public health officials from all three levels of government advise residents to practice social distancing as a way to slow down the spread of the deadly virus, which has so far infected 332,930 people and killed 14,509 worldwide.

"The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed," reads the city of Toronto's coronavirus information portal, which advises such prevention measures as washing your hands often, using hand sanitizer, not touching your face, staying home when ill and covering your cough or sneeze.

"For general, day-to-day activities," states the website, "there is no need to wear a surgical or N95 mask."

Lead photo by

Josh Pennock

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