Concerns raised over publicly discarded masks, gloves

Deputy mayor says behaviour is simply unacceptable in time of elevated public health crisis

The man who cleans Safeway’s parking lot is concerned about what he has been finding recently.

“Right now, I’m finding used rubber gloves, I’m finding facemasks, dirty diapers, I’m finding the lysol wipes, in the buggies on the ground, at the entranceways, everywhere,” said Mike Moore.

He said litter in any context is disturbing, but particularly under the present circumstances.

“I just can’t figure out, if you’re going to wear the mask and wear the gloves and wipe your buggy down, if you’re that worried about it then put it in the garbage, but to put it on the ground and your kid steps on it, or your little kid might pick it up… they’re just tracking it everywhere.”

READ MORE: B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Yesterday, Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s minister of public safety, issued a ministerial order that will enable the use of “municipal bylaw officers to support enforcement of the provincial health officer’s orders for business closures and gatherings, in line with offences under the Public Health Act.”

The Town of Smithers is currently working on a plan what that would look like, but in the meantime, Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill said they are counting on the people of Smithers to do the right thing.

It is unclear whether discarding personal protective items in public spaces would fall under provincial orders, but it certainly falls under not doing the right thing, Atrill said.

“That’s just appalling,” she said. “We’re hearing concerns from people who are worried about the spread of a potential virus that might be in our community. We’re asking people to stay apart, the very least we can do is put our garbage away properly. It’s appalling to throw your stuff on the ground anyway, and now with this elevated concern the fact that folks are too lazy to pack their garbage to a garbage can, or take it home or put it in a recepticle or have a plastic bag in your car… that’s just not acceptable at all.”

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