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  • Author or Editor: Liselotte Rambonnet x
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Abstract

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is massively used, resulting in a new wave of litter: protective face masks and gloves. Here we present the first case of a fish entrapped in a medical glove, encountered during a canal clean-up in Leiden, The Netherlands. We also report the first cases of birds using medical face masks as nesting material, which were also found in the Dutch canals. To place these new findings in context, we collected online reported interactions of animals with PPE litter, since the start of the pandemic. This resulted in the first overview of cases of entanglement, entrapment and ingestion of COVID-19 litter by animals and the use of it as nesting material. We signal COVID-19 litter as a new threat to animal life as the materials designed to keep us safe are actually harming animals around us. To understand the full scale of this problem, we welcome anyone to contribute to our overview by submitting their observations online at www.covidlitter.com. To further prevent PPE litter, it is recommended that, when possible, reusable alternatives are used.

Open Access
In: Animal Biology