There are approximately 7.5 billion people on Earth.
The global pandemic has impacted almost the entire world population.
The human population is doing everything under the sun to protect itself from the infection from the virus.
One of the major weapons (rather a shield) in this fight is the Face Masks. Until a viable vaccine comes out, the facemasks will be our critical defense mechanism.
Coming to the problem
The massive use of facemasks is also leading to an increasing challenge of disposal. Whether it is due to ignorance or carelessness, people throw away the face mask anywhere & everywhere, leading to a massive problem of face mask pollution.
The thrown face masks are not only potential carriers of the virus that might affect anyone who comes in contact like a sanitation worker.
It is also poses danger to our marine life.
The disposable face masks may feel like soft cotton, but they are made from non-biodegradable material such as polypropylene. If not disposed of properly, they get washed down the drains, rivers and end up in oceans.
In just a few months from the time pandemic began and the world started using facemasks extensively, the face mask pollution is noticeable in our beaches and oceans.
Reports of beaches littered with millions of facemasks are already doing the rounds.
Watch this video report from Hong Kong, where Gary Strokes from OceanAsia went on litter picking the masks, he made a pertinent point, if “Dolphins, turtles, porpoises (mistake them as food and) swallow this, it is going to block up their digestive track” and ultimately can cause death.
There are 2 options of Face Masks –
- The Disposable surgical Facemasks
- The reusable Facemasks
If you are not a medical professional, patient, or caregiver to a patient, it is better to use reusable facemasks, which you can wash and use for a considerably long period of time.
Get over with the fancy of use and throw of the masks. Wear a simple homemade cloth one, or if you are buying get something which you can wash and use it multiple times.
Let us not leave it to the sanitation workers to clean the face mask pollution, they are anyway hard-pressed cleaning so much other litter. Let us become responsible and reflect on our choices.
Next time, when we go to a beach and put our feet in the water, none of us would like a face mask to entangle our legs.