Local News

No shortage of masks, gloves littering area parking lots, roadsides

Posted April 9, 2020 9:31 p.m. EDT

— Plastic gloves and face masks may help stop the spread of the new coronavirus, but they are easily disposed and are often ending up as litter in parking lots and along area roads.

WRAL News crews found gloves behind a Target store in Apex, as well as on the pavement and caught in a fence at a nearby Walmart.

Six gloves were lying around a single gas pump island at a Sheetz station in Raleigh on Wednesday, but they had been cleaned up by Thursday. Discarded gloves were also found everywhere from a gas station in Holly Springs to a Food Lion in north Raleigh.

"I got a bunch of them in the car," said Sonja Orne, who said she is grateful to have gloves during the pandemic.

Orne said she's noticed a lot of gloves flung about like soda bottles or food wrappers. But the gloves and the masks aren't biodegradable or recyclable – and they're potentially biohazards.

"I just look at them with disgust. I wish people would pick up after themselves," she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the gloves could pose a threat for those who have to clean them up.

"Once contaminated, gloves can become a means for spreading infectious materials to yourself, others or environmental surfaces," the CDC website says.

One grocery store manager said that employees use a broom and dustpan to pick up discarded gloves and put them in the trash bin.

Dwayne Cherry said he's seen gloves left behind in shopping carts.

"Please just dispose of them properly," Cherry urged glove-wearers. "We're trying to get things under control with the social distancing, and everything matters at this point."

Several local police departments said they haven't received complaints about gloves and masks littering the area, but they urge people to be careful and dispose of them properly.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.