From the Newsroom

Community unmask their opinions on litter issues in Clarence Valley

As regional communities continue to adhere to the current guidelines enforced by NSW Health regarding the wearing of face masks, the Clarence Valley Independent hit the streets recently to speak with locals and ask them if they think there has been an increase in the number of face masks littering the local area.

Clarence Valley Council (CVC) was also approached for comment.

No response had been received at the time of publication.


Michele King: Yes, I’ve seen a big increase in the number of surgical masks in car parks, waterways and in general public areas. Used face masks are unhygienic waste products and people should dispose of them properly.

Craig Marshall: It’s a huge issue at the moment because so many people are wearing masks, but I don’t think they’re being smart when it comes to chucking them out. 

Lisa Whyte: Absolutely, they’re a big problem right now. I feel pleased when I see people wearing face masks because it’s the right thing to do to help keep everyone safe, but its also pretty upsetting because I know lots of people don’t dispose of their face masks properly when they’ve finished wearing them, and it’s a big environmental concern.

Pam Ferguson: I make my own fabric masks and I choose to wear them, so I don’t need to buy the throwaway sort. I would like to encourage more people to wear cloth masks because then there wouldn’t be so many disposable face masks thrown away. I think most people throw them in the bins, but they’re very light, so they’re easily picked up and carried by the wind which is probably why there are so many of them seen around town.

Izaac Cowling: To be honest, I haven’t really seen that many face masks lying around Grafton. I don’t think there’s a problem with littering, I think most face masks end up falling out of bags and cars and people haven’t really noticed.

Zoe Thomas: I’ve seen maybe around three or four of them on the ground in the last week when I’ve gone out, but I don’t think those numbers are enough to suggest there’s a littering problem.


  • When disposing of face masks, it is recommended the elastic be cut and removed prior to placing the mask in the bin.