I really appreciate your column. I live in a rural area where people throw out cans, bottles and other trash. What are the safety concerns for dealing with picking up roadside trash? How long is the virus viable on a bottle or aluminum can?
There should be no COVID-19 concern related to picking up trash. Even if there was a can with virus on it, the risk would be extremely low. You would have to pick it up while the virus was viable and then get it into your body through your eyes, nose or mouth to infect yourself.
It is always a good idea to either wear heavy, liquid-resistant gloves or use trash tongs to pick items up. I recently bout a great pair of trash tongs at a local farm store for around $10.
That is safer, as some items may be sharp or contaminated with pesticides, animal feces or other things.
Picking up trash is more than just for making our surroundings look nicer. It also helps to eliminate breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe and beautiful!