France mulls €300 fine for people who drop face masks on the street

France mulls €300 fine for people who drop face masks on the street
This has become a common sight in French towns and cities. Photo: AFP
A proposal for a €300 fine for people who throw face masks and surgical gloves onto the street is to be debated by the French parliament.

Since the wearing of face masks became widespread in France the country is facing a new problem – discarded masks littering sidewalks, roads and public spaces.

Unsightly as the discarded masks and surgical gloves look to casual passers-by, they pose a major health hazard to the municipal employees who clear the streets and to the environment.

Below is a video that a diver recently posted on social media showing horrifying pictures of the seabed of the Bay of Cannes littered with masks and gloves which had been dumped and then swept out to sea.

 

The local MP for the Alpes-Maritime Eric Pauget has therefore tabled a bill in the French parliament to introduce a €300 fine for anyone caught dumping face masks or gloves.

He said: “Faced with a growing number of offences and the volume of gloves and masks found on the public highway, and when information on the right actions to take is no longer sufficient, strong legislative responses must be made.

“The government has ordered a billion masks from the French industrial sector and the demand being 200 million per week, imagine what this will represent in terms of waste if 10 percent are thrown on the ground.”

His call is being back environmental charity Robin des bois (Robin Hood).

Since France began to lift its lockdown on May 11th masks have been compulsory on public transport, for teachers and in some shops.
 
Many local authorities have been distributing washable cloth masks but single-use surgical masks are also available to buy from pharmacies and other stores.
 
Wearing a mask in a public place is not compulsory but is advised in order to help prevent the spread of the virus.
 
Anyone breaking any of France's lockdown rules – such as not wearing a face mask on public transport or travelling more than 100km with a permission form – faces a €135 fine.

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