'It's terrible': Hundreds of PPE masks littered down Telford country lane

Nearly 1,000 used PPE masks have been found littering a country lane in Telford for nearly half a mile.

Masks found discarded on Humber Lane, Telford
Masks found discarded on Humber Lane, Telford

Karen Boulton runs an opticians in Wellington and was on her way back home to Derrington, near Stafford, when she came across the rubbish scattered along Humber Lane near Hoo Farm.

Karen said that as an optician, she has used medical PPE enough to know that the hundreds of masks lining the roads would have been used as they were not in boxes or wrapped up.

Masks found discarded on Humber Lane, Telford

She reported the incident to Telford & Wrekin Council who said it would be cleared within five days, but she said it should have been cleaned up as soon as possible, due to the health and safety issue.

Karen explained: "I was driving home from work at around 1.20pm on Tuesday, going from the direction of the roundabout at the bottom of Leegomery towards Hoo Farm."

"As I passed through and went along Humber Lane towards Hoo Farm, I became aware of lots of rubbish on the side of the road and the volume was getting greater as I went along.

"I stopped the car and took some pictures, it was terrible. I drove down a bit more and stopped again, I could not believe the amount I could see; carried on all the way across Hoo Farm and round the corner.

Masks found discarded on Humber Lane, Telford

"It could have been a fly-tipping incident or an insecure waste collection. I would say there was around 1,000 pieces of rubbish. I thought it was only masks but I also saw a few pairs of gloves. I believe they were used masks because as an optician, proper medical grade PPE masks come in boxes, so why would they be loose?"

Karen said she posted the photos to the Telford Coronavirus Facebook page and people who lived near the lane said it had still not been cleaned up at 10pm that night.

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"Two women had even been seen tidying up some parts of it but they shouldn't be risking their safety," she added. "I am thinking it is an insecure used collection that has come off a vehicle or something.

"I am an optician and the correct way for medical PPE to be disposed of should be in double bags. So this obviously has not been disposed of correctly. I think it's terrible and it should have been collected the same day, if not the same hour it was reported, not left while people are dying from this disease.

"There is also wildlife in that area and people walk down the country lanes."

A spokesperson from Telford & Wrekin Council said: "We are very grateful to the member of the public who alerted us to this incident at approximately 1.45pm on Tuesday, June 9.

"We sent a representative from our contractor idverde in the afternoon to conduct a site visit and crews collected the waste that evening.

"The response the member of the public received was an automated one generated when an online report is made, however, we do have the ability to escalate incidents which in this case we did, resulting in the lane being cleared yesterday evening.

"There were no waste collections in the area – only recycling collections and therefore we can only assume this has been illegally fly-tipped. We urge anyone who has any further information about this incident to contact us via telford.gov.uk/report so that we can pursue any further action against those responsible."

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