Masks, PPE Begin to Pollute San Francisco Bay

Masks, PPE Begin to Pollute San Francisco Bay


Discarded masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) have begun to wash into the San Francisco Bay with the arrival of the first winter rains, creating a new local pollution problem.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday:

The Bay Area’s first rain of the season is washing away worries of wildfire and drought. But it’s also bringing a new concern: gobs of face masks flooding San Francisco Bay.

Early season storms typically sweep a slurry of debris from streets and sidewalks into rivers, creeks and bays. This year, the fall flush not only contains the usual gunk, waste experts say, but a whole lot of discarded PPE — or personal protective equipment, the detritus of the pandemic.

This influx of safety scraps into waterways is tough to quantify. However, the California Coastal Commission offered at least some idea of the volume: The agency said there was so much

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