You might have heard that 6-pack plastic pop holders are bad for birds. You're supposed to cut them before you discard them. What about masks?

A migratory bird rescue group in Chicago is asking people to take one extra step before they throw away disposable face masks. Birds beaks are getting caught in the strings of disposable face masks. You are being asked to cut the strings before adding them to your refuse.

Some people are completely missing the trash can. Littered masks are a danger for those that will eventually have to dispose of them. The problem is so severe that many state and county public health departments have issued advisories against throwing masks and gloves on the streets and parking lots. In Philadelphia, they have experienced clogs from face masks, gloves and wipes residents had pitched into the potty.

Masks littered in downtown Grand Rapids
Masks littered in downtown Grand Rapids

WZZM is reporting that in Houston, sanitary sewer overflows jumped 33% because of clogs from rags, tissues, paper towels and wipes. In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, crews are cleaning sewage pumping stations a couple of times a week that previously needed it once a month.

Darren Olson, vice chairman of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Committee for America’s Infrastructure said,

"Masks and gloves thrown in the street can travel through storm drains in separate systems to lakes and other waterways."

Don't let this happen to our Great Lakes! Keep Lake Michigan clean! Let's keep Grand Rapids clean! Friendly reminder: the street, parking lots, and toilets are not trash cans.


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