COVID 19 Face Mask Pollution
“The 1.56 billion face masks that will likely enter our oceans in 2020 are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, Director of Research for OceansAsia. These masks will take as long as 450 years to break down, slowly turning into micro plastics while negatively impacting marine wildlife and ecosystems.
Plastic consumption, which has been steadily rising for years, increased significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The use of PPE, in particular face masks, has become a common tool used in preventing the spread of the virus, with many jurisdictions mandating the wearing of masks in public. The production of PPE has expanded to meet skyrocketing demand, and PPE waste has also increased dramatically.
Single-use face masks are made from a variety of melt blown plastics and are difficult to recycle due to both composition and risk of contamination and infection. They enter oceans when they are littered, when waste management systems are inadequate or non-existent, or when these systems become overwhelmed due to increased volumes of waste.
It is critical that we work to reduce our use of single-use plastics, and we all have a role to play. There are reusable and sustainable options for almost every single-use plastic item. Please wear a reusable mask, unless necessary, and be sure to dispose of all masks responsibly.
At the EcoFairy, our goal is to help you build a more sustainable life by offering you a line of reusable products. We offer products that last and that will help you reduce the amount of plastic you use.
More info on our website: https://www.theecofairy.com