Houston coronavirus updates: City starts plan to target PPE litter

Mayor Sylvester Turner has announced a public awareness and cleanup campaign to target PPE litter. (Courtesy HTV)
Mayor Sylvester Turner has announced a public awareness and cleanup campaign to target PPE litter. (Courtesy HTV)

Mayor Sylvester Turner has announced a public awareness and cleanup campaign to target PPE litter. (Courtesy HTV)

As Houston's coronavirus case counts trend downward, officials have lauded the use of face masks. Now, they are addressing an unintended consequence of mask use: litter.

New cases continue to slow

The Houston Health Department reported 230 new cases Sept. 16, about half of which came from samples collected in the last two weeks. Similarly, the department reported 325 new cases Sept 15 from samples taken in the previous two weeks.

As schools and universities continue to reopen, Dr. David Persse said the community will need to maintain precautions to prevent another spike.

"The reality is the virus is still here," he said. "As long as it is here, we are going to be in a constant struggle with it. We need to do the best that we can and celebrate the successes that we have along the way."


Litter campaign targets PPE waste

Reports of discarded masks and sanitizer accumulating on streets and sidewalks are growing, city officials said.

To combat this, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a collaboration with the solid waste department, public works, the parks department and various neighborhood groups to promote a public awareness campaign against PPE litter. The campaign, which will include posters and clean up events, will also target illegal dumping, which was an issue prior to the pandemic, as well, said Martha Castex-Tatum, vice mayor pro tem and the campaign's leader.


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