Mystery ‘Covid’ litterbug in Oban

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A mystery litterbug has been discarding ‘contaminated waste’ in the gardens of a street in Oban, say concerned home owners.

Used Covid face masks, blue protective gloves and even disposable medical aprons have turned up along Croft Road in Oban.

Items have been found in gardens and hedgerows or stuffed inside sandwich-style bags and crammed into gaps in walls, annoyed residents have said.

One resident, in her seventies, is vulnerable due to her immune system and has now found waste on three separate occasions.

The former health professional, who worked in the NHS for 40 years, said she dare not pick it up for fear of infection.

She said: ‘Whether it has Covid or not, it doesn’t matter. It has been used in a situation requiring gloves and masks and needs to be disposed of properly, not by someone like myself. There is no way we should be handling that.’

Just last week, a neighbour found a face mask, gloves and a disposable bag in their garden. Others nearby have made identical finds, adding up to around half a dozen incidents.

The woman has left written notes with the rubbish warning that it is a health hazard – in an effort to make the person think again – but to no avail.

The council had said because the litter is on private land they cannot remove it and have suggested providing litter pickers to dispose of it if she has concerns, she said.

And police have said unless someone is witnessed doing it, there is nothing they can do, she added.

‘It’s not an isolated incident and it is something that has been deliberately going on for a while now. To me it’s a hazard and I am not touching it,’ she said.

‘I have problems with my immune system and whoever it is could be handling anything.’

The resident said the official regime for disposing of such products suggests they needed to be left for 72 hours and then placed in specialised yellow bags.

They should also go into dedicated medical waste rather than being thrown in with domestic waste, she added.

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council commented: ‘That anyone would choose to dump litter is shameful, but to discard used PPE is beyond words.

‘It is your duty to dispose of your own PPE safely in a normal waste bin. If you collect littered face coverings or PPE, handle these with care.

‘Dispose of them in a household waste bin, not in a recycling bin. You should use safety equipment, including thick gloves, litter-pickers and heavy-duty bags.

‘Anyone with information as to who might be discarding this material, can contact the council on 01546 605514.

‘Our wardens will be happy to talk to people to explain their responsibilities towards keeping us all safe.’