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France ‘looks to increase fines for littering’ amid coronavirus waste

Minister says there has been rise in ‘new types of dumped rubbish’ linked to pandemic

Zoe Tidman
Sunday 07 June 2020 10:22 BST
A latex plastic glove litters the street in Paris towards the start of its national lockdown over coronavirus
A latex plastic glove litters the street in Paris towards the start of its national lockdown over coronavirus (JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

France is reportedly looking to increase fines for people caught dropping litter – including face masks and gloves.

The proposal comes amid concerns over waste linked to the coronavirus pandemic, which has been found washed up on the country's beaches.

Littering fines could increase to €135 (£120), according to French media.

Brune Poirson, a junior environment minister, told AFP news agency a draft decree would propose harsher sanctions for those caught dropping rubbish on the floor, Le Monde reported.

She said there had been an “increase in the number of new types of dumped rubbish linked to the health crisis”, according to the French national newspaper.

People caught littering in the street are currently handed a €68 (£60) fine in France.

Conservationists have warned about Covid-19’s environmental impact after face masks - which people must wear on French public transport, in secondary schools and workplaces where social-distancing is not possible - and gloves have wound up on beaches around the world.

Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) has also washed up on the French coast.

One video has shown latex gloves and surgical masks on the ocean flood near Cannes, and Opération Mer Propre (Operation Clean Ocean) has been detailing coronavirus-related rubbish which it has been cleaned up from the sea on its Facebook page.

Environmentalists have warned waste linked to the Covid-19 crisis is adding to plastic pollution in the oceans - which poses a risk to marine life.

“Everyone must understand rubbish thrown on the ground often ends up in the ocean,” Ms Poirson said, according to Le Monde.

“If we want clean seas and oceans, it starts with clean pavements.”

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