Activists raise alarms over virus litter along French coast

While U.S. healthcare workers still complain of shortages of masks and other protective equipment, there’s one place with too much: the waters off the French Riviera.

A French environmental group is finding virus-era detritus littering the Mediterranean floor near the resort of Antibes.

Video shot by Operation Clean Sea shows scattered masks and gloves on the seabed, among beer cans, cigarette butts and other trash.

The group shared the images online as France and other countries gradually reopen their beaches to warn that it could worsen pollution problems in the Mediterranean.

“We were rather unpleasantly surprised when we started to see gloves that were buried in the sand,” Joffrey Peltier, founder of Operation Clean Sea, told the Associated Press. A mask looked “like a jellyfish, we didn’t know exactly what it was at first.”

The amount of virus garbage remains limited, he said, but “it’s the promise of pollution to come if nothing is done. On our beautiful Cote d’Azur, we know that as soon as it starts to rain, all the garbage coming from the gutters will end up in the sea.”

Street cleaners in Paris have also complained about masks littering sidewalks as France started relaxing confinement measures and more public places require people to wear masks.