By Maria Rachal
May 3, 2021
As communities across the United States marked Earth Day 2021 with community trash cleanups, many noted increases in litter over the last year associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
One culprit is the proliferation of disposable personal protective equipment (PPE). The nonprofit Ocean Conservancy released a report this spring saying volunteer users of one app recorded picking up over 107,000 pieces of PPE litter worldwide in the second half of 2020 alone. Findings from a study by Keep America Beautiful suggest 207 million PPE items were dropped on U.S. roadways and waterways through early fall 2020.