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Widespread Disposable Mask Usage Might Be Causing an Environmental Catastrophe

The coronavirus pandemic that struck the whole world simultaneously made it necessary for people to start using face masks because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up protecting them from getting infected. Research has shown that widespread mask usage can reduce the increase in coronavirus cases whenever they are mandated, and this has generated push back from a wide range of sources all of whom suggest that masks are either ineffective or downright harmful.

While these concerns surrounding mask usage might not be all that valid, there is one specific impact of using disposable masks in particular that many people need to start becoming cognizant of with all things having been considered and taken into account. This impact is that around 3 million face masks get disposed of each and every minute, and this has vastly increased the amount trash that people tend to generate on a day to day basis so much so that it may very well end up causing an environmental disaster down the line.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the plastics industry had a role to play in all of this. Governments could have invested in biodegradable masks or reusable ones, but lobbying from major plastic corporations made that less likely than it should have been. A good example of this can be seen with the CEO of the Plastics Industry Association who told congress that single use plastics were the only thing that could keep Covid at bay.

This has resulted in a 300% increase in the use of single use plastics, so much so that people are using 129 billion disposable masks on a monthly basis. Another way to look at this is that there has been an unfathomable 9,000% increase in the amount of mask litter that the UK is currently being forced to deal with, and this is resulting in the nightmare scenario that environmental activists and scientists alike have been warning people about since the initial days of the pandemic.

It’s not just the plastic in the masks that is causing problems either. These masks also contain various kinds of heavy metals such as lead, and toxic compounds such as arsenic can be found in them as well. Unfortunately, it does not seem all that likely that disposable masks will go away anytime soon since they are the most convenient way for people to keep themselves safe from harm. Hence, there is a strong chance that these masks will have a negative impact on the world in the coming years.


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