While right now we are facing a pandemic and it needs to be taken seriously, there are a lot of things we’re doing wrong throughout all of this. Yes, we all have to wear masks and things of that sort to protect ourselves and others but how we get rid of them really needs to be thought through a bit better.
According to The Guardian, conservationists have been warning many that this pandemic could cause a serious surge in pollution and it seems we’re seeing exactly that. Not only is merely tossing our masks and things of that sort a hazard to us humans, but it also damages wildlife as we already have more than enough waste finding its way into the ocean as it is. Who knows how many masks will overall end up in the ocean if nothing is done about all of this?
The Independent wrote as follows on this topic:
The rise in disposable face masks and gloves being used to prevent the spread of coronavirus is adding to the glut of plastic pollution threatening the health of oceans and marine life, environmentalists warn.
On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order, effective this weekend, that New Yorkers must now wear a mask when out in public in situations where social distancing isn’t possible.
The CDC advises wearing cloth masks in public (although President Trump says it’s not mandatory and he “doesn’t see it for himself“) due to the concern that Covid-19 can be spread by people who are infected but not showing symptoms.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned Americans to stop buying medical masks that are needed by healthcare workers.
It has done little to stop a wave of single-use masks and latex gloves being used and discarded.
On social media, pictures of bright blue gloves and crumpled masks littering streets, shopping carts, parking lots, beaches and green spaces are being posted around the world. It’s left to sanitation workers and grocery story staff, those essential but underpaid frontline employees, to pick them up.
Those not picked up can be caught by a gust of wind or washed down drains, ending up in the ocean and waterways.
Not only is there a potential health risk of dropping used masks and gloves during the pandemic but many contain materials that do not recycle and are not biodegradable. Surgical masks are made using non-woven fabrics including plastics like polypropylene.
This issue in itself would be much less extreme if we all used reusable cloth face coverings/masks but as you most likely see out and about that’s not really happening as much as it should be. Many people are turning to the blue one time use face masks that are more or less just surgical face masks overall. With the whole world seemingly wearing masks, the more people who use reusable ones properly the better.
In recent times someone has actually even seen a seagull with a face mask wrapped around his/her feet which really for all of us should be a wake-up call. While this seagull was rescued by the RSPCA and his/her feet freed who knows how many more are out there like this? This very well could be the first spotting of many cases like this to come, honestly.
To learn more about how much havoc discarded face masks and things of the sort are causing take a look at the video below. They are really causing a lot of pollution. These kinds of things should not be found in such large numbers and honestly, it’s sickening that they are being found as they are. Right now we need to work together to get through this and simply tossing our face masks in this sense is not the way to get things done.