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).