The coronavirus crisis has thrown up another problem, the careless disposal of masks and gloves.

Members of the French NGO Opération mer propre (Operation Clean Sea) have discovered large numbers of rubber gloves and face masks littering the sea bed neat Antibes. The group said that now is the time to sound the alarm, as holidaymakers will soon head to the beaches.

More importantly, the long-term threat to wildlife is incalculable, the group said. Laurent Lombard, the group’s founder, said: “These masks – we haven’t had them for long, and we’re going to have billions, so I say watch out, it’s the beginnings of a new type of pollution.”

According to news website LCI, a draft law has been put forward by Eric Pauget, a member of the National Assembly representing the Alpes-Maritimes, to increase the fine for littering a public place with masks from the current 68 euros to 300 euros in an attempt to dissuade people from throwing them away on beaches.

PHOTO: Opération mer propre