Face mask problem polluting the environment

A face mask is necessary to stop the spread of covid-19, but does pose a pollution problem

A face mask is necessary to stop the spread of covid-19, but does pose a pollution problem - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

East Devon journalism student Alexandra Walters writes for this title.

Alexandra Walters, who writes for this title

Alexandra Walters, who writes for this title - Credit: Alexandra Walters

Facemasks are the new normal in todays society. In order to keep each other safer we have been wearing these facemasks in shops, on public transport and at work or in education, and may need to do so for some time yet.

Of course this is a necessary way to reduce the spread of the Covid-19.

However, a new issue has arisen, the incorrect disposal of single use (disposable) facemasks is causing many problems within our wildlife.

According to the historical data uploaded by the United Nations around 75 per cent of the PPE used during this pandemic will end up being put into landfill sites and our oceans.

This is a huge problem as this will effect our planet in an irrevocable way. As it pollutes the land and ocean,

it can also cause serious damage and even death to wildlife.

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Birds, fish and other sea life can be caught and even strangled by the elastic bands on our masks.

They could also mistakenly consume the mask causing harm to the animal or in the worst case death.

Single use face masks are the recommended ones to use but if you are using one, its imperative you dispose of it in the appropriate bin and not just chucking it into a hedge or the side of the road.  

This is becoming a serious issue and needs to be controlled for the sake of Devon's wonderful wildlife and indeed the whole of our planet getting severally affected by this pollution.

I'm sure you will agree that it is not difficult to put a used mask into a bin and yet it will improve our pollution issue immensely and create a cleaner World to live in.

When out enjoying the fresh air, it is awful to see these blighting our towns, beaches and countryside.

Before the pandemic, people were willing to tidy up the odd dropped item but it is not so easy now. Caring about our planet and wildlife instead of being ignorant of the issues will create a much improved environment and small steps to help can be done by everyone.

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