City officials urge residents using personal protective equipment to stop littering

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FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – They are supposed to protect you from germs, but the ever-so-popular gloves, masks and disinfectant wipes could be spreading them if you don’t dispose of them properly. 

“The reason they have the word disposable attached to them is that you can throw them away in something, like a round or a rectangular container. We call them trash cans,” said City of Fresno Communications and Public Affairs Director Mark Standriff.​

Recently, masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment have been found on the sidewalks, ground in Fresno, and beyond.

The litter is not only harming the environment but also creating a health hazard, with concerns over COVID-19 living on surfaces for up to a few days. 

​”If we weren’t going through this COVID-19 pandemic I just say that if you see it, pick it up, throw it away. But we don’t want anybody to risk getting infected because it’s somebody that is wearing a glove that unfortunately may have touched something inside so it’s just you know think to be considerate of other people be respectful of the community,” said Standriff.

Another issue emerging from the Coronavirus pandemic is the demand for toilet paper. Those who can’t find any on the shelves are resorting to paper towels, flushable wipes and other material which can cause damage to pipes and sewage systems.

“If it’s not toilet paper do not flush it down the toilet,” said Plumbing and Drain Solutions Director of Operations Daniel Salazar. ​The company had to hire more plumbers to keep up with a 33% increase in clogs they’ve responded to during the past few weeks. Salazar said the increase is due to a number of factors, including people being home more and using the restroom and kitchen frequently. 

Salazar says the best way to avoid a costly plumbing bill is to avoid flushing items that shouldn’t be flushed down the drain anyway.

​”Once it gets in the main sewer line, it could clog up your neighbors, it can clog up a lot of, it could cause a lot of damage,” said Salazar.

Standriff hopes everyone does their part in not only staying home during the Shelter in Place order but also cleaning up after themselves. 

“We are asking folks to honor the shelter and place orders to be able to say, let’s just think about the cleanliness of the city, and do everybody a big favor. Keep Fresno beautiful by taking those disposable gloves and masks and wipes and putting them in the trash can, where they belong,” said Standriff. ​

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