ENVIRONMENT fears as 1.5Billion face masks end up in seas in 2020
It can certainly be said that the lockdown and restrictions prompted by the coronavirus pandemic has some positive environmental effects, such as a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions as well as pollution in many Spanish cities. However, it’s not all good news as the proliferation of masks, gloves and other PPE has represented more plastic waste for the environment.
Marine conservation organization OceansAsia, in a recent study, estimated that by the end of 2020 approximately 1.56billion face masks will have ended up in the ocean, representing an additional 5,000 tons of plastic pollution.
“The 1.56 billion face masks thrown into the oceans in 2020 will only be the tip of the iceberg”, suggested the director of OceansAsia, Phelps Bondaroff, who added: “They are only a small fraction of the approximately 8 to 12 million metric tons of plastic entering our oceans each year.”
In addition to face masks, the UN Conference for Trade and Development stated that gloves and bottles of hand santiser will account for about 75 per cent of plastic waste produced by the pandemic which will end up in landfills and seas.
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