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Masks and gloves are saving lives — and causing pollution

Lynn Adams, president of the Pacific Beach Coalition, shows face masks that were found...
Lynn Adams, president of the Pacific Beach Coalition, shows face masks that were found discarded near her home as volunteers clean areas near Sharp Park Beach in Pacifica, Calif., Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Disposable masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment have safeguarded untold lives during the pandemic. They’re also creating a worldwide environmental problem, littering streets and sending an influx of harmful plastic into landfills and oceans. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)(Jeff Chiu | AP)
Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 9:55 AM PDT
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PACIFICA, Calif. (AP) - Disposable masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment have safeguarded untold lives during the pandemic.

They’re also creating a worldwide pollution problem, littering streets and sending an influx of harmful plastic into landfills and oceans.

In Northern California, environmental groups are tracking the issue on the coast, and trying to do something about it.

The Pacific Beach Coalition cleans up beaches in and around the city of Pacifica, south of San Francisco. Volunteers record what they pick up to gauge what might end up in the ocean. The group’s president, Lynn Adams, says it’s seen a dramatic increase in discarded PPE, and is working to call attention to the problem.

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