Coronavirus litter louts throwing face masks and plastic gloves in the street were blasted last night by town hall leaders.
Two in five councils said littering of personal protective equipment was a growing problem in their areas.
The sight of disposable blue face masks and plastic gloves discarded on pavements has become increasingly familiar since the pandemic struck the UK as people try to guard against the disease.
Now, the District Councils’ Network has warned people to bin their used PPE to prevent the potential spread of disease.
The organisation’s spokesman for “enhancing quality of life”, Dan Humphreys, said: “PPE waste is becoming a problem for many councils with more communities sadly seeing it become a normal part of litter left on the streets and in other public spaces.
“Not only does this blight local areas, but it also risks spreading infection.
“Face masks, gloves and other forms of PPE are designed to protect people from infection, but poor disposal risks doing the opposite.
“We need to express our gratitude for the magnificent effort of council waste collection teams during the hugely challenging times of the past few months, and for the vast majority of residents working hard to recycle waste and discard PPE responsibly.
“Keeping waste collections going has been a powerful symbol of life continuing as normal and has reassured residents that their council has continued to carry out the day-to-day services for every household across every street in the country.
“We would remind residents to be responsible and think carefully about how they manage and dispose of their waste, to help our waste collection crews.”
The survey of 70 district councils found 40% said dumped PPE was a problem in their area.
It comes as nearly nine in 10 councils reported a surge in recyclable waste since lockdown began in March, with some weeks being like Christmas collections.
Home working and a rise in online shopping are being blamed for the increase.