The coronavirus outbreak has indelibly imprinted itself on life in Los Angeles — down to the composition of trash washing up on its beaches.
Volunteers at L.A. County’s largest annual cleanup event recently collected nearly 750 pieces of disposable personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, said Shelley Luce, president and CEO of Heal the Bay. The nonprofit has for the past 30 years coordinated the L.A. County portion of Coastal Cleanup Day, which was this year reimagined as Coastal Cleanup Month due to the pandemic.
“Coastal Cleanup Month was just this past month of September,” Luce said, “And we’ve all been noticing the littered PPE since April, basically.”
It was the first time the cleanup effort tracked the presence of single-use PPE in L.A. County’s waste stream, and some were surprised to find it was the 10th-most common category of trash, surpassing items such as glass bottles.
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