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With a lifespan of 450 years, Covid-19 masks and gloves are an ecological time bomb!

Posted by Maria Cristina Chiulli on

There is a new scourge polluting the world's waters: face masks and sanitary gloves. The COVID-19 detritus has meant that discarded face masks floating like jelly fish and latex gloves lining the seafloor are adding to the world's plastic waste crisis.

In an effort to clean up the Mediterranean Sea, divers from the French non-profit, Opération Mer Propre (Operation Clean Sea) found dozens of gloves, masks and bottles of hand sanitizer beneath the waves of the Mediterranean, mixed in with the usual litter of disposable cups and aluminum cans. In France, authorities have ordered two billion disposable masks. Soon we'll run the risk of having more masks than jellyfish in the Mediterranean.

While the amount of personal protective equipment found in the Mediterranean was admittedly small, the uptick in pollution from those items signals an ominous trend. Disposable masks, for instance, may feel like soft cotton, but they're almost all made from non-biodegradable material such as polypropylene. That means when the non-biodegradable material is discarded into a storm drain, it empties out into the rivers and seas. With a lifespan of 450 years, these masks are an ecological time bomb, given their lasting environmental consequences for our planet. Land-based activity accounts for 80% of ocean pollution, with 50% a direct result of single-use plastics. Now, we must act to avoid making the situation worse.

In UK efforts to curtail single-use plastics and plastic bags have been put on hold due to concerns about hygiene. The Centers for Disease Control's recent recommendations for reopening offices even advocated a dramatic increase in single-use plastics, arguing that communal snacks and coffee should be replaced by individually wrapped items. It's the promise of pollution to come if nothing is done.

In Hong Kong, where face masks piled up on beaches and nature trails, posing threats to marine life and wildlife habitats. We only have had masks for the last six to eight weeks, in a massive volume ... we are now seeing the effect on the environment.

With all the alternatives, plastic isn't the solution to protect us from Covid. (source: EcoWatch.com)

How are you helping our seas and oceans to stay clean? Ditch single use plastic!

Shop with us our natural, reusable, eco friendly products. Say Yes to Life, Earth Thanks! 🌿

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