Around the world, every minute of every day, three million masks are tossed out. Let that sink in. THREE million masks are tossed out every MINUTE.
Every single day, on average, a little over four billion — with a “b” — masks are thrown out.
Every single month, 129 billion — again with a “b” — masks are tossed out.
And this does not include all the other protective equipment.
“Preventing masks from becoming the next plastic problem,” is the name of a research paper published this year and here’s the takeaway:
Recent studies estimated an astounding 129 billion face masks being used globally every month (3 million / minute) and most are disposable face masks made from plastic microfibers (Prata et al., 2020). With increasing reports on inappropriate disposal of masks, it is urgent to recognize this potential environmental threat and prevent it from becoming the next plastic problem.
Yes, there is a layer of plastic in all those disposable masks, and here’s a collection of photographs that bring the problem to life.