THE Green Party has urged people to dispose of their protective gear more responsibly after recording a dramatic spike in the amount of PPE-related litter cleaned up by its Southend volunteers.

Since the nation was put on lockdown in March, Green Party members have been conducting micro-street cleans of their immediate neighbourhood as part of their daily exercise, but volunteers have noted a “staggering increase” of discarded protective equipment on the streets.

They say items such as surgical masks, gloves and plastic face shields have been found discarded in parks, streets and beaches.

James Vessey-Miller, South East Essex Green Party co-ordinator, has pleaded for the community to play their part.

“Many people across Southend are understandably seeking out and using protective gloves and masks in a bid to contain and stop the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.

“Whilst I’d encourage residents to utilise whatever protection they deem necessary to feel safe, I’d strongly recommend people check online how to dispose of their PPE correctly, and to do so.”

The Green Party’s activists have also noticed a dramatic increase in the number of antibacterial single-use cloth wet wipes being found littered in bushes and verges.

This comes despite Anglian Water launching a campaign last year to encourage residents in the town to dispose of them correctly.