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LSU professor looking to curb litter of PPE around Baton Rouge

LSU professor looking to curve litter of PPE around Baton Rouge
Updated: Jul. 7, 2020 at 8:50 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - During this time masks and other personal protective equipment are needed, however many have been littering personal protective equipment (PPE) around the world including Baton Rouge.

“As times progressed and we’ve seen masks become more common, they are becoming a more common item on the street,” says LSU professor Mark Benfield.

Benfield takes daily walks around his neighborhood. Recently, he started noticing disposable masks and wipes left in the street. Therefore, he decided to start collecting data on how much personal protective equipment he found in the area.

“If they don’t have a place where they feel safe and they are going to discard it on the street. If they see other trash on the street, I think they feel it gives them license or permission to do the same thing,” says Benfield.

Using this data Mark is trying to see how much this PPE will impact our waterways. “My view is if it lands on the street, it’s going into the Gulf of Mexico because it’s just one rainfall away from being washed away into a drainage system and into a bayou and into the gulf,” said Benfield.

Mark has volunteers from around the world who are tracking the PPE on their daily walks like Caroline Clay who has seen PPE on the streets of New Orleans. “I think people are not thinking about all of the repercussions of throwing things on the ground, something that they are just accustomed to or they haven’t really thought about it,” says Clay.

Mark suggests that if you wear a disposable mask then plan to throw it away. Simply, put it in a plastic bag, and then throw it away in the trash. This way you are at least protecting yourself and the environment. If you spot a piece of personal protective equipment and you would like to report it, simply take a picture of it, along with your location and you can send it to covid19waste@gmail.com.

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