Face Masks Enviromental impact in our Oceans
By taking a moment to analyze what our daily lives have become and how face masks are now an indispensable accessory for us, it is not hard to ponder the environmental impact it must be causing to our planet.
If pollution was already part of our concerns, just imagine the effect of the number of disposable face masks and also plastic gloves that people have begun to wear to reduce the spread of covid-19 and avoid getting infected.
The amount of face masks used monthly worldwide
There is an estimated number of how many disposable face masks and gloves are being worn globally per month; around 200 billion of these accessories are ending up in our environment, which are already being spotted everywhere in the city streets and also in our beaches.
It has been being talked to spread consciousness about it to the world’s citizens, motivating them to find friendly alternatives, such as wearing hand-made face masks out of cotton and other textiles, taking into account that there will be needed at least three layers of material for its protection to be effective.
An increasing worry: The amount of plastic in the ocean
Bearing in mind that there was already a strongly worrying crisis surrounding the enviromental impact of the amount of plastic that goes to our oceans, and there was a whole conciousness campaing of people being motivated to be more ‘’eco-friendly’’, well, there must be payed extra special attention to it now.
Because of the fact that more than 1.56 billion face masks can actually en up polluting our oceans, besides of the already stablished fraction of the estimated 8 to 12 million metric tones of plastic that enter our ocean per year, it must concern us.
How long does it take to a face mask to decompose?
Most face masks are manufactured of long-lasting plastic materials and if these are quickly discarded just because we think they might have lost their effectiveness after wearing them a couple of times, it will contribute to the large number of masks that will be remaining in the environment for decades to centuries. Disposable face masks could take around 450 years to disappear. These are made of plastic, which over time, breaks down into microplastics and then into smaller nano plastic, not disappearing completely and littering even a wider space than before being degraded, it takes its time to finally disappear once and for all.