THE number of blue facemasks littered on the streets of Swindon is causing anger.

Tom Wright walks Labrador Boseley regularly on the Western Flyer in Cheney Manor and says this is a particular hotspot for dumped PPE during the pandemic.

“They are absolutely everywhere," he said.

"I walk my dog on Ferndale Road in the morning and evening and it’s peppered with facemasks. In the first lockdown we didn’t really see them.

Tom is worried the masks dropped on the street may be causing harm to animals and wildlife. 

He added: “I’ve seen a cat flying along with one trapped round its neck. I think people chuck them out of their cars or they fall out of their pockets. 

“I will pick up the masks, all I do is break the strings. We mustn’t let innocent animals suffer for our ignorance.

Tom, 59, is concerned about what is happening to the PPE and where it is going after people dispose of it.

“They are made of paper, so biodegradable to some degree,” he added. 

“But the council should be putting PPE bins about. They have removed a lot of bins, I think there’s been three bins in the past six years removed from Ferndale Road – one on the corner shop on Ferndale Road, one outside Costcutter and one outside Bobby’s takeaway shop.

“They have slowly been removing them but they must have a policy – otherwise people just drop rubbish everywhere they go."

Tom believes the council should take more responsibility for letting people know what is happening with the PPE.

“There must be tonnes of this stuff," he added. "People need to be aware so they can get rid of it responsibly. What happens to it here and in the hospital?

"They are supposed to be disposing of it in a responsible manner. The council should let us know what is happening to it.”

The bins falls under the remit of the parish council for each area.

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “There is absolutely no excuse for people dropping litter of any sort and we would strongly urge members of the public to dispose of their waste appropriately, especially any unwanted facemasks.”

“Like any rubbish, facemasks should be carefully placed in a bin when they are no longer needed. 

"If people are out in a public place and cannot find a bin nearby, they should take the mask home with them and dispose of it in their own bin.”