NEW YORK (77 WABC) — New Yorkers are told to wear masks, and some use gloves as well, as they venture outdoors where groups congregate.
But there’s a growing problem of tossing the gloves and mask on the curb.
Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan is sponsoring a bill that would extend a personal protective equipment litter law beyond county parks to anywhere in the county during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was disgusted through my personal observation, whether it was going to the supermarket, the park or the beach, I would see used gloves and masks, and frankly it just pissed me off as a quality of life issue,” Lafazan said.
But Lafazan, one of the youngest elected officials in New York State history, said it is also a public health hazard.
Depending upon weather conditions, he said, the virus could live on those discarded disposal items for up to five days, potentially endangering people.
“I decided I had to act,” Lafazan said.
He has called on the public and private sector to increase receptacles, but thinks it won’t make a difference.
“It’s not the number of receptacles,” Lafazan said. “It’s simply sheer laziness.”
More problematic, he said, the people who most likely will pick up the gloves or masks are essential workers.
“You’re threatening the lifeblood of our economy and you’re threatening their health,” Lafazan said.
Furthermore, the legislator from Syosset said, the PPE left for garbage could also kill marine life.
Fines would start at $250. He hopes it will pass in the Legislature next month.
“If you just use common decency and just behave with regard to common humanity and civility,” Lafazan said, “this is a fine that is 100% avoidable.”