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Inverness councillor makes PPE mask and gloves litter plea

By Louise Glen

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Councillor Isabelle MacKenzie with her dog Jed.
Councillor Isabelle MacKenzie with her dog Jed.

An Inverness councillor is pleading with people to stop littering the city with used items of PPE.

Isabelle MacKenzie, who represents the Inverness Millburn ward, spoke out after being contacted by constituents concerned about face masks and gloves being discarded in the area around Raigmore Hospital.

She said improperly disposing of such items increased the risk of infection.

“The public need to be more aware of health issues – we all need to be extremely careful when we are out and about,” she said.

“Face coverings can have virus on them. Dispose of them more carefully! In a bin, preferably.”

Councillor MacKenzie said one man told her he had collected 33 face masks on one walk with his dog.

“An NHS facilities management manager has been in touch with me,” she added. “He has agreed that grounds personnel will be instructed to pick up the masks.”

Volunteers at Raigmore Hospital’s main entrance are also informing visitors about the dangers of discarding face masks and two staff members – Rena Dillon and Emma Low – have also been conducting their own “litter pick” for the items.

Ms Dillon said: “In 20 minutes we picked up 43 masks along with a collection of gloves and wipes.

“If you’re going to use disposable masks please ensure they are disposed of in an appropriate manner.

“We know some can drop out of pockets, but instead of taking them out of the hospital there are bins provided at the exits where they can be dropped into when gelling your hands.”

Praising the constituent who brought the problem to her attention and acknowledging the issue was more widespread than just in the Raigmore area Cllr MacKenzie added: “I have been told that the masks are being washed into drains and causing problems.

“I think the best thing for everyone to do is simply bin them.

“In the current pandemic it’s important that used PPE face masks are put into waste bins.

“We all need to play our part in trying to eliminate this dreadful virus around us, so we can get back to as normal as possible again!”

Read more news about Isabelle MacKenzie.

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