COVID-19 has started a worldwide contest for personal protective equipment (PPE) as governments scramble to aid frontline workers. Several conservatives have been apprehensive about wearing a face mask while Democrats have encouraged it.
While Democrats have been pushing for the utilization of PPE they are really adding to the pollution issue. Democrats that are pushing for the use of PPE are actually hurting the environment. Thousands of masks are discarded every day onto the side of the streets sadly.
According to a WWF report, “if just 1% of the masks were disposed of incorrectly and dispersed in nature, this would result in as many as 10 million masks per month polluting the environment.”
“Considering that the weight of each mask is about 4 grams, this would result in the dispersion of more than 40 thousand kilograms of plastic in nature,” the report stipulated.
Single-Use Face Masks and PPE thrown away
Much of the PPE being used to protect health workers — like gloves, face masks and gowns — is used once before being thrown away.
This is the case despite there being no scientific evidence that single-use plastics are better than reusable ones, said Kevin Stairs, policy director on chemicals and pollution at Greenpeace.
“When reusing a PPE, we disinfect it. With single-use products, the item is fugitive, escapes the system and can carry the Sars-CoV-2 virus for days on its surface.”
Face Mask Pollution in the Oceans
“The litter in the sea is generated by the way we dispose of PPEs and plastic in general, not by the use itself,” said Richard Thompson, professor of marine biology at the University of Plymouth, who first coined the term “microplastics” in 2004.
“[Governments] are asking every citizen to walk with a mask on, but this does not have to create littering.”
“Given the crisis and the immense pressure we are facing at the moment, we should not delay giving everyone PPEs now.
“But, at the same time, if those products are used in the streets, we have to advise people on how to dispose of them.”
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