A WEYMOUTH dog walker has said she is concerned about the amount of gloves, masks and wipes she has found littered around the town – and is worried that the situation will get worse this bank holiday weekend.

Jane Fuhrmann, who raised the issue after coming across dozens of discarded PPE items while walking her dogs in Wyke Regis, said: "As a dog walker I am coming across it daily and being plastic it is going nowhere fast. I can’t say there is a particular hotspot as gloves seem to be randomly discarded in the streets and sadly are being seen in the sea and on beaches too.

"Wet wipes, again plastic based, are also just used and left. Litter Free Dorset, Litter Free Coast and Seas and Weymouth Council have all recognised the problem and have put appeals on their social media pages as this is going on all over the country. Supermarket car parks are also seeing discarded PPE.

"In normal times we might pick it up and dispose of safely but without gloves or picker, it is unwise to touch it considering what is was intended for."

She added: "I am, as ever, worried about the contribution toward the plastic litter problem and the effect it has on our environment, but as PPE’s main purpose is to protect from viruses, it may well have been contaminated and be a risk to our health.

"With the probable influx of tourists over the coming weekend from areas where use of these items is even more common, I am concerned the problem will escalate and we will see more items discarded inappropriately."

Litter Free Dorset has been running a 'Bin the Beast' campaign, which specifically targets PPE littering.

A spokesman said: "‘Not only is there a health and hygiene risk to members of the public if these discarded gloves and PEE are contaminated with COVID-19, but there is also an environmental impact - pollution.

"Most disposable gloves are made of either plastic or rubber polymers (synthetic and natural) which during manufacturing undergo different processes and are combined with additional chemicals to produce the finished product of a disposable glove.

"Once used and discarded, these can take years to decompose and breakdown adding to plastic pollution. Please let's keep Dorset beautiful - Bin the Beast."