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Thurso man shows how a simple snip can help wildlife


By David G Scott

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NUMEROUS reports of birds and other wildlife getting caught up in the cords of discarded PPE masks can be resolved with a simple snip, says a community activist from Thurso.

Thurso community activist Alexander Glasgow gets to work on making this discarded PPE mask safe for wildlife.Pictures: DGS
Thurso community activist Alexander Glasgow gets to work on making this discarded PPE mask safe for wildlife.Pictures: DGS

The advice comes from Alexander Glasgow and on the back of an article about discarded PPE face masks found on streets highlighted by Caithness civic leader Willie Mackay.

Mr Glasgow said: "A gull has been rescued after it became trapped for about a week by a disposable face mask tangled around its feet, raising concerns that discarded PPE could pose a threat to Britain's wildlife amid the coronavirus pandemic."

There have been many reports of seagulls being tangled up in PPE masks recently.
There have been many reports of seagulls being tangled up in PPE masks recently.

He pointed out how birds and other animals are getting tangled in the loops of the PPE masks that many now wear as a defence against coronavirus.

"There used to be a problem with birds getting strangled around the neck or having their feet tangled up by the plastic yokes from six-packs [of canned goods].

"As you did with the yokes, you just cut the loops on the disposable masks."

Mr Glasgow suggests that people could help alleviate the problem of discarded masks on streets by getting reusable ones.

Alexander simply snips the cords of the mask to stop animals getting tangled up.
Alexander simply snips the cords of the mask to stop animals getting tangled up.

"It is disappointing to find disposable face masks littering our streets," said civic leader Willie Mackay.

"Indiscriminately throwing disposable used masks on the ground is dangerous, it's an offence, and it should be discouraged for health and environmental reasons, let alone causing an unsightly litter problem. "There is no reason why they should not be disposed of properly and safely."

Caithness civic leader Willie Mackay talked about the problems of discarded face masks on Wick streets.
Caithness civic leader Willie Mackay talked about the problems of discarded face masks on Wick streets.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Irresponsible disposal of any litter poses a risk to both domestic and wild animals if ingested. Animals can also cut their paws on broken glass or sustain injuries from becoming tangled in discarded items.

“We are regularly called to assist all types of waterfowl as a result of injuries from rubbish, fishing lines and hooks in particular. We would urge anyone who sees an animal in distress to contact us immediately on 03000 999 999."

He added: “Anyone with concerns regarding litter in their area should report this to their local authority.”

Civic leader calls for masks to be disposed of properly amid growing concerns over litter



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