Discarded PPE creating mounting litter problem, says CIEH

20 May 2020, Ross Matthewman

CIEH has received concerns from its members that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) being used by the public is not being disposed of correctly and is feeding a mounting issue of litter.

CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing over 7,000 members across the UK working in the public, private and third sectors. Environmental health professionals have a vital role in protecting the public and in enforcing the business closure and social distancing measures announced by the Government in relation to COVID-19.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more members of the public are wearing their own PPE when they leave their household, buy food and essentials, or travel on public transport; something that may increase in line with government guidelines as the country begins to gradually exit lockdown.

However, CIEH has received growing reports that used PPE is not being disposed of properly and simply left as litter in public places.

Surgical masks and safety gloves are among the items being reported to CIEH as having been left in parks and on streets.

Debbie Wood, CIEH Executive Director for Membership and External Affairs, said:

“Our members play a key role on the ground in supporting efforts to tackle COVID-19 and we are concerned by reports from them that PPE is simply being left as litter in public places.

We are receiving reports that all manner of PPE such as surgical masks and safety gloves are being dumped and not properly disposed of.

We are calling on the public to be responsible and to dispose of their PPE properly. That means putting it in proper litter bins or taking it home for proper disposal.”


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