The epidemic of coronavirus has created a new type of pollution. For several weeks, the images of streets littered with masks and gloves have multiplied on social networks. Become mandatory in the transport, the mask is worn everywhere, but it ends too often in a trash can. And it could well start to invade a natural area already thoroughly contaminated by the plastic : the sea. In a video posted on Facebook, relayed by Le Parisien, Laurent Lombard, founder of the association Operation Clean Sea, warning of the presence of surgical masks and gloves in the Mediterranean sea.

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” you said this summer you are swimming with the COVID 19… ? “, started the activist in his message posted on the social network. On the images, shot in first person, Laurent Lombard dives off the coast of Antibes at the bottom of the Mediterranean. The result is uplifting. He picks up one of the masks and gloves which are waiting their time between the sand and the seaweed.

A mask puts 400 years to decompose

” Knowing that over two billion disposable masks have been ordered, soon there will be more masks that of jellyfish in the waters of the Mediterranean “, warns Laurent Lombard. A surgical mask would more than 400 years to decompose. With his association, he had already denounced the pollution of the Mediterranean by the plastic. He dives regularly in its turquoise waters to retrieve dozens and dozens of waste, before posting a photo to alert the population.

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” 80 % of the waste that we find in the sea come from the earth. Everyone should be aware that waste must be disposed of in the bins and nowhere else “, he says. Eric Pauget, deputy for the Alpes-Maritimes, has recently proposed an amendment to toughen the regulations in force concerning the filing wild and increase the fine to € 300 in case of filing of masks on the public road or in a natural space.