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British Columbians Have Been Throwing Their Face Masks In The Toilet

Face masks litter

Photo: @TeriTownerCllr / Twitter

Wastewater treatment plants have seen an uptick in un-flushable items lately, as British Columbians are throwing face masks and latex gloves into their toilets.

The Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plant is where much of Metro Vancouver’s toilet waste ends up. This facility, along with many others across Canada, have seen more personal protective equipment (PPE) turn up, amid the pandemic.

RELATED: Coquitlam May Fine People $10K For Not Throwing Masks & Gloves Into Trash

“Whether they’re wipes, whether they’re masks, whether they’re rubber gloves, all of those things can’t be treated in the sewage system and, in fact, damage our equipment,” said Jerry Dobrovolny, chief administrative officer for Metro Vancouver to CBC.

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He adds that “flushable” wipes are not actually safe for toilets, so those must be kept out as well.

PPE items don’t biodegrade and wastewater staff must take them out and dry them, before it ends up in a massive waste pile.

Even a small percentage of those items can clog pumps, pipes and other equipment, costing a pretty penny.

“It can total over $250 million a year in increased maintenance costs,” explained Dobrovolny.

And it’s taxpayers who end up footing the bills. So while scientists are racing to make biodegradable face masks, it’s important to properly dispose of them

For more Vancouver stories, head to our News section.

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