Coronavirus: Edmonton asked to address rubber glove-littering problem

WATCH (April 5): More people are wearing medical masks and gloves during the COVID-19 crisis but many are not properly disposing of the personal protective equipment, and as Kristen Robinson reports, the used items that could be contaminated with the virus are piling up on the streets.

Beverly resident Ben Johnson has had enough. He took a long stick so he wouldn’t have to touch the discarded rubber gloves with his hands as he cleaned up a significant area near Abbotsfield Mall.

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“I filled a shopping bag with them,” Johnson told Global News in a phone interview Monday after a busy weekend. “Just a regular shopping bag and I completely filled it with all of the gloves that were on the streets and in the parking lots.

“It’s got to stop because every time I go out there, there’s more.”

Questions were asked at last week’s Edmonton city council meeting when the mayor brought up the gloves issue.

Johnson has no time for the glove tossers, who he says are single minded.

“They only wear these things to protect themselves and they don’t give a damn about anybody else. I want to pick these things up because of the fact that they’re bright-coloured blue and bright colours attract children.

“You don’t want kids picking these things up.”

Councillor Bev Esslinger has fielded plenty of calls in her part of the city as well.

“Kingsway District Association — they just made posters and got businesses to put up more garbage cans because it’s a problem in businesses.”

Gloves lay in a south Edmonton grocery store parking lot Monday, April 6, 2020.

Gloves lay in a south Edmonton grocery store parking lot Monday, April 6, 2020.

Wes Rosa, Global News

Grocery stores appear to be magnets for them.

“Yes. They’re big parking lots and that’s where people are going, right? We’re not going shopping very far.”

“I understand the city is going to be working on this issue as well,” Esslinger said.

“Many people are recognizing it’s a challenge and we’ve got to work together on that.”

Capital City Clean Up is weeks away from its annual spring campaign.

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It’s expected the city will have more to say Tuesday about the COVID-19 related problem. Johnson is looking forward to it.

“This has got to stop. There is no parking lot in Edmonton you can go to that you won’t find gloves on it. These things are everywhere. People have got to get responsible with these things.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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