‘The Glove Challenge' Encourages Cleanup of Littered Protective Equipment

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As many of you use gloves and face coverings when going out in public, perhaps along the way you’ve seen some of these items left behind and littered. Now, a Miami Beach group taking to social media to fight back against the littering and waste of personal protective equipment.

Even before county and city governments mandated the use of a face covering or mask when going out in public, there was a feverish rush to obtain personal protective equipment, latex and nitrile gloves included.

Along the way, the use and misuse of the personal protective equipment became quite evident around South Florida. So much so, in fact, that a local organization became convinced they needed to draw attention to the issue in order to curb it.

Mariajose Algarra is a member of “Clean This Beach Up," an environmental advocacy group that spends most of its time and energy cleaning up Miami Beach. With the closure of local beaches due to COVID-19, the organization has turned its mission to awareness about the discarding of gloves across South Florida.

 “I decided, we’re in quarantine, but we still need to find things to do in order to inspire people and educate," Algarra said.

After social media caught wind of “The Glove Challenge”, hundreds of photos began to roll in.

"It’s been crazy, the response we got from people... We have received over 800 pictures and counted 1500 gloves in total."

The evidence varies from parking lots, streets and even drains around Miami Beach. In addition, Kendall, Homestead and Doral are reported to be repeat locations for littering, and the problem has expanded to Broward as well with multiple photos coming from Weston. 

Jonathan Bratter, a physician at Memorial Hospital Miramar, uses both gloves and masks daily as a necessity in his work. Over the last few weeks, he, too, has turned disappointed by the litter he’s seen near and away from the hospital, and feels like a simple solution is within everyone’s reach.

"You can keep a plastic bag with you, or a plastic trash bag in your car and have a place to dispose of it later on, or you can look for a garbage can." Bratter advised.

"Unfortunately, these things are popping up in parking lots and people are just dropping them, and that’s clearly not good for the environment and not good for the population."

Nonetheless, Algarra sees the misfortune of littering as an opportunity, and she think the awareness brought about by “The Glove Challenge” as a step in the right direction.

 “It’s amazing to see that there are still people who care, who want to change. The fact that we're getting so much attention for this, it's gigantic, it's a win for all of us," Algarra said.

If you want to share your photos of discarded gloves or masks, just tag “the Glove Challenge” in all of your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook posts. 

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