Face masks and latex gloves are found strewn along a French seabed

Face masks and latex gloves are found strewn along a French seabed raising concerns of coronavirus related littering

  • Operation Clean Sea has been working to clean up the ocean floor near Antibes 
  • In two days they found 14 latex gloves and five face masks littering the seabed 
  • French minister is tabling a bill to raise public littering fine up to €300 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A mass of face masks and latex gloves have been found strewn along a French seabed, raising concerns of coronavirus-related littering.  

French NGO Opération mer propre (Operation clean sea), had been working to clean up the ocean floor around Antibes in southeastern France when they stumbled on a mass of waste used to stop the spread of the virus.  

In a video posted on their Facebook, the NGO shows a diver drifting along the seabed, before swimming through a floating wall of plastic gloves and masks. 

During this weekend’s operation, the group said they had picked up 14 latex gloves and nine surgical masks from the water, in addition to over 200 litres of other waste.

The group’s founder, Laurent Lombard, who shot the underwater video, told the BBC: ‘These masks – we haven’t had them for long, and we’re going to have billions, so I say watch out, it’s the beginnings of a new type of pollution.’  

Pictured: Face masks and latex gloves collected by French NGO Operation Clean Sea over the weekend at a beach in Antibes 

Pictured: Face masks and latex gloves sit next to beer cans, which were all collected by French NGO Operation Clean Sea over the weekend at a beach in Antibes

Pictured: Part of the total haul collected by French NGO Operation Clean Sea over the weekend at a beach in Antibes

On Facebook, the group posted: ‘Knowing that more than 2 billion disposable masks have been ordered [during the pandemic], soon there will be more masks than jellyfish in the waters of the Mediterranean…!’ 

‘[…]I would just say to end that a disposable mask is thrown in the trash like any other waste for that matter.’  

As France comes out of lockdown, the NGO said the government should take drastic measures to ensure coronavirus-related rubbish doesn’t become a new crisis. 

The local MP for the Alpes-Maritime Eric Pauget has already suggested the introduction of a €300 fine for people caught dumping face masks or gloves in public.

He said: ‘Faced with a growing number of offences and the volume of gloves and masks found on the public highway, and when information on the right actions to take is no longer sufficient, strong legislative responses must be made. 

Pictured: Face masks and latex gloves collected by French NGO Operation Clean Sea over the weekend at a beach in Antibes

Pictured: The total haul of rubbish, which included 200 litres of other waste, collected from the beach in Antibes over the weekend 

Pictured: A face mask photographed and collected by French NGO Operation Clean Sea over the weekend at a beach in Antibes

‘The government has ordered a billion masks from the French industrial sector and the demand being 200 million per week, imagine what this will represent in terms of waste if 10 percent are thrown on the ground.’ 

France on Tuesday reported 83 new deaths in hospital from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours as key indicators remained steady two weeks into the relaxation of a lockdown.

A total of 28,530 deaths have now been recorded in France since the epidemic began, the health ministry said in a statement. This includes a slight revising down by 10 of the numbers who have died in nursing homes.

The numbers in intensive care fell by 54 patients to 1,555, a figure that had exceeded 7,000 at the peak of the crisis.

French officials have said there is no sign yet that the relaxation of the nationwide lockdown on May 11 has led to an increase in cases.

But caution is urged, with President Emmanuel Macron warning that the epidemic is not over.

The government is to announce on Thursday what measures can be eased in the next stage of the relaxation on June 2.

Cafes and restaurants currently remain closed while people can only venture 60 miles from their homes without a special reason.

Source: Read Full Article