Published On: Sun, Jul 18th, 2021

Discarded Masks, Gloves Significant Source of Beach Pollution: Report

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SAN CLEMENTE, Calif.—Single-use masks and gloves mandated in response to the coronavirus pandemic were a significant source of beach pollution, according to the Surfrider Foundation’s Beach Cleanup annual report. More than 2,270 single-use masks and gloves were removed from beaches and waterways from June to December during the San Clemente-based foundation’s Beach Cleanup program. The discarded masks and gloves contributed to the nearly 90 percent of all items removed from beaches across the U.S. being plastic. “Plastic pollution is a global crisis,” said Jennifer Hart, the foundation’s plastic pollution coordinator. The pandemic forced the foundation to modify its Beach Cleanup program, switching from large group cleanups to solo cleanups. The foundation also opened its Beach Cleanup Database to the public so everyone could participate in logging their cleanup data. Surfrider hosted 927 modified beach cleanups in 2020, increased coverage by nearly 55 percent and removed more than 80,000 pounds of …

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