Face masks for coronavirus are now causing environmental pollution
While we suffer from the consequences of our own arrogance in the form of COVID-19, we still have a lot to learn about the boomerang effect of trashing mother nature. It has not been long since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and people have been doing whatever they can to prevent themselves from contracting the virus, which includes wearing disposable face masks, gloves and using plenty of hand sanitizers. However, sadly enough we are still prone to disposing of everything around in the open and despite the short span of time of the use of these disposable face masks for coronavirus, we have managed to accumulate heaps of them in the ocean.
The disposable coronavirus face masks are made of a material known as plastic propylene which is not easy to biodegrade making it safe to say that it’s an immense biohazard to the environment especially the ocean. Many environmental groups have sounded the alarm on the pollution predicaments the disposed litter of face masks for coronavirus are causing. Gary Stokes, founder of Oceans Asia which is a marine conservation organization explained how on one 100 meter stretch of the beach of Soko Islands off Hong Kong, he collected over 70 masks with another 30 within the next week.
Situation of Face Masks’ Litter in Hong Kong:
Hong Kong does not effectively recycle its waste rather they accumulate them in landfills which is a great source of biohazard. More than 70% of the garbage ends up in landfills which makes up for 70 million tons of waste. The people of the country are preferably using single-use plastic which is more difficult to recycle or biodegrade. The conservationists plan on cleaning up these beaches from the coronavirus face mask turmoil through rigorous cleanups. For a country of 7.4 million people hoarding and disposing of these coronavirus face masks repeatedly, keeping the beaches clean has become quite a task. By now, there have been 765 reported coronairus cases in the country and 4 deaths (as of April 01, 2020). The public is advised to keep themselves sanitized and protected while keeping the environment clean and safe as well. Doctors and professionals have urged the people to stop purchasing medical face masks as they are ineffective against the spread of the coronavirus but in turn, are creating litter heaps when disposed of. On the contrary, it’s important to keep the professional equipment for the professionals rather than hoarding them ourselves leaving them with nothing.
Video Courtesy: South China Morning Post / Youtube