Improper disposal of face masks could mean fines, charges

Improper disposal of face masks could mean fines, charges

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Now that masks are required in the Good Life City, leaders with Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful (KADB) say it’s more important than ever to dispose of your masks properly.

Judy Bowles, KADB executive director, said since the coronavirus pandemic began, billions of gloves and masks have been thrown away around the world.

“It’s estimated that worldwide, we are throwing away over 125 billion masks and gloves every month. And it’s just important that we dispose of them properly," said Bowles.

Leaders with Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful say it's more important than ever to dispose of your masks properly.
Leaders with Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful say it's more important than ever to dispose of your masks properly. (Source: WALB)

While cloth masks can be reused, paper masks should be thrown away after use.

But this does not mean that they should be thrown on the ground.

“When you throw it down in parking lots and roadbeds, it’s going to eventually go into the storm drain. And those drains and catch basins are only set up to handle water. So, when you put in other types of things, it stops up those manholes. And then our streets flood when there is lots of rain," said Bowles.

Bowles said the issue of littered masks has even been seen in the KADB’s parking lot.

“I have found two down in our parking lot within the last week. Where somebody has come into the building, you have to have a mask to come into our building, and they apparently took it off as soon as they got outside,” said Bowles.

If you’re caught littering, Lt. David McVey with Dougherty County Police Department said you could face fines, charges and even jail time.

“We have two separate laws. The first one is throwing your mask out of a vehicle, you can be cited, and it is a misdemeanor for that. And if you throw it down on public property or private property if they don’t have permission, you can also be charged for that as well," said McVey.

While there have been many cases of people doing the wrong thing when it comes to mask disposal, there are ways you can stay safe if you choose to pick up masks to help keep Albany and Dougherty County beautiful.

“You never want to touch it with your hands. You can use gloves. I carry a pickup stick in the back of my car. But there’s a proper way to dispose of it. And you shouldn’t have someone else cleaning it up after us," said Bowles.

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