ENVIRONMENTAL champions have raised fears over heath and safety after a face mask was found every 60 metres on a litter pick in Rosyth.

Volunteers from the Fife Street Champions group have revealed the scale of discarded face masks in our communities and in December alone have picked up more than 3,400 in total.

Nicola Donald, from Camdean, joined the group last year and highlighted there were particular problems around the Sainsbury's at Unwin Avenue.

She told the Press: "I collected 51 masks just in a couple of hours on December 28 and counted one every 60 metres.

"Just on Friday, I collected 21 masks – it appears to me that people are just not thinking about what they are doing or giving it a second thought.

"It's a bizarre thing to do but when I go out, I often think about how much litter I'm seeing and it was great to see that there was like-minded people.

"There are quite a few people involved in Rosyth and we all just try to look after our own areas."

Fife Street Champions started to count how many masks they were collecting in their litter-picks after they were asked to take part in a survey for the Marine Conservation Society.

From September 18 to January 25, they have found 5,417 face masks across Fife. A total of 297 of those were re-usable.

They've also collected huge quantities of disposable gloves and in 2020, the group collected 10,397 bags of litter.

Organiser Sharon Longhurst said members had highlighted particular concerns around schools with discarded face masks and even a tree near Duloch Park was decorated with masks recently.

"It's definitely a big problem and we've been shocked at the numbers we've counted," Sharon said.

"You can only imagine the damage to wildlife it's causing, both on land and sea and you've also got the COVID aspect.

"Schools are particularly bad, when you go into woodland areas near them you can see them tossed everywhere.

"Shops are another place as people just seem to dump them after they come out.

"People just don't seem to care and we're finding face masks everywhere.

"I really fear for the health aspect too if they are not disposed of properly.

"There is no reason for it but I think there needs to be more awareness raised of the dangers."

Safer communities manager Tricia Spacey confirmed that the council was working with local litter-picking groups to highlight growing concerns over the disposal of face masks.

She added: "It's everyone's responsibility to keep our communities clean and tidy – there's no excuse for littering.

"We will continue to work together with partners to highlight the issue and encourage the safe disposal of face masks."