Discarded masks litter beaches worldwide, threaten sea life

SANDY HOOK, N.J. (AP) – Discarded masks and gloves worn by people to protect against the coronavirus pandemic are turning up on beaches around the world.

In the past year, volunteers picking up trash on beaches from the Jersey Shore to California, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong have been finding discarded personal protective equipment.

The latest example came Wednesday when New Jersey’s Clean Ocean Action environmental group released its annual tally of trash plucked from the state’s shorelines.

The group tallied the usual plastics, cigarette butts and food wrappers. But volunteers also removed more than 1,000 masks and other pieces of virus-related protective gear from New Jersey beaches last fall.

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