Coronavirus News: 7 On Your Side cleans up health hazard from discarded PPE

ARDEN HEIGHTS, Staten Island (WABC) -- If you've traveled outside, you may have seen PPE like masks and medical gloves littering the sidewalks, pavement and parking lots.

But one Staten Island mom says she's been fighting this battle for months - even before the pandemic. But now she says it's gotten worse - and she's afraid either she or others will get contaminated.

"It's a sanitary issue - it's disgusting," said Jessica Mario.

Mario's was referring to her garbage pail overflowing with used medical equipment like gloves and even used medical linens.

"I have a 4-year-old and a 10-month-old and I don't want them to get sick. I don't know what was left on those linens left by the ambulance," Mario said.

She says her downstairs neighbor needs transportation by ambulance for treatments two to three times per week - each trip is recorded by her Ring camera.

She doesn't know if the senior has COVID-19, but she says that isn't the point.

"It's not OK to not take this stuff with you, whether there's coronavirus going on or not," Mario said.

Infectious disease experts say the virus could live on a glove from two days to a week. And now towns in the area are starting to crack down.

Earlier this month, East Brunswick and Parsippany both announced they were going to fine PPE litterers anywhere from $50 to $2,000.

"It's horrible, just horrible," Mario said.

As the wife of an NYPD traffic officer, she wants those frontline essential workers like sanitation personnel to feel safe.

She has called the ambulance company many times.

"I just feel like I'm being brushed off and it continues to happen," Mario said.

So 7 On Your Side called the ambulance company, letting them know we salute the heroic job they do each and every day. But, we also appealed for some help to cut down on the litter.

They agreed and changed their policy to dispose of them properly. And the very next day, watching from upstairs, Mario watched the EMTs take all PPE with them.



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