ORLANDO, Fla. - More and more Americans are taking precautions to keep from getting the coronavirus by wearing masks and single-use gloves when they have to go out in public.
The problem? Instead of throwing them in the trash, social media users have been posting horrifying photos of the gloves and masks being thrown on the ground -- and even being left in shopping carts.
Ann Terri of Connecticut posted a photo to Facebook showing dozens of discarded gloves outside of an Aldi supermarket.
"Someone I know works at Executive Honda right next door. The Executive employees have to clean all the dirty gloves and trash that blows down that hill. This is absolutely shameful."
Twitter user @vikkibranden says she spotted the trash in Central Florida.
"I went for a run yesterday in Orlando and I saw gloves and masks all over the sidewalks and roads."
Facebook user Jose Charo snapped several photos of discarded gloves, disposable face masks, and wipes thrown on the ground in the parking lot of a Walmart.
"Humans are the virus of the earth. There were more items like the usual dirty pampers, water bottles, plastic bags, McDonald’s wrappers / bags. This is just the next item to become normal litter in our lives."
The new coronavirus can live in the air for several hours and on some surfaces for as long as two to three days, tests by U.S. government and other scientists have found. This means that if the person wearing the gloves and masks was infected, people cleaning them up could come into contact with virus particles.
Some law enforcement agencies say they will start giving hefty fines to people caught throwing gloves and masks on the ground.
"UNLAWFUL DISPOSAL OF TRASH and the first offense is finable up to $5,500," the Swampscott Police Department in Massachusetts said. "The disposal of gloves, masks, and disposable wipes is the responsibility of the person wearing them, not the store employees. We need to contain the spread of COVID-19 and do the right lawful thing by throwing these items in the trash."