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.
Researchers are blaming “corona waste,” including disposable face masks and latex gloves, for a recent increase in wildlife deaths.
The researchers in the Netherlands say wildlife across the world is getting entangled in discarded face masks and other safety gear.
“Researchers note incidents of foxes in the United Kingdom and birds in Canada all becoming entangled in discarded face masks,” according to studyfinds.org. “Hedgehogs, seagulls, crabs, and even bats are all encountering the disposable plastics in the environment.”
“In some cases, study authors say animals are eating this debris.”
Informed readers will see the irony in that the very people pushing face mask mandates also claim to be concerned with “global warming” and the environment in general.
New research conducted by environmental justice scholars at Vermont’s Bennington College reveals that between 2016 and 2020, the U.S. military oversaw the “clandestine burning” of more than 20 million pounds of Aqueous Fire Fighting Foam in low-income communities around the country—even though there is no evidence that incineration destroys the toxic “forever chemicals” that make up the foam and are linked to a range of cancers, developmental disorders, immune dysfunction, and infertility.
“In defiance of common sense and environmental expertise, the Department of Defense (DOD) has enlisted poor communities across the U.S. as unwilling test subjects in its toxic experiment with burning AFFF,” David Bond, associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College, said (pdf) in a statement earlier this week.
Noting that scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and even Pentagon officials have warned that “burning AFFF is an unproven method and dangerous mix that threatens the health of millions of Americans,” Bond characterized the decision of the military to dump huge stockpiles of AFFF and AFFF wastewater into “a handful of habitually negligent incinerators” as a “harebrained” operation as well as a manifestation of environmental injustice.
Researchers have detected more than 50 new environmental chemicals lurking in people’s bodies, the vast majority of which are little known or unknown compounds.
These chemicals — which have never been observed in people before — were discovered in a study of pregnant women and their newborns.
The findings are concerning given that very little is known about these chemicals and their potential health effects, researchers from the new study say. What’s more, pregnant women and their newborns are a particularly vulnerable population.
While Covid face mask mandates have proved lucrative for governments, the pharmaceutical and PPE industries, and health officials, they have taken a devastating toll on the world’s oceans and wildlife according to ecological and environmental experts.
An extensive study from marine preservation group OceansAsia found that “the number of masks entering the environment on a monthly basis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is staggering.”
“From a global production projection of 52 billion masks for 2020, we estimate that 1.56 billion masks will enter our oceans in 2020, amounting to between 4,680 and 6,240 metric tonnes of plastic pollution,” OceansAsia reported. “These masks will take as long as 450 years to break down and all the while serve as a source of micro plastic and negatively impact marine wildlife and ecosystems.”
“Every single visit we find more masks,” OceansAsia’ Teale Phelps Bondaroff said, noting that since many masks are shredded and covered in algae, they may be consumed by fish and ocean creatures that mistakes the masks as food.
The global face masks market value was roughly $790 million in 2019, but exploded to over $166 billion by the end of 2020.
In a Facebook post from early in the mask and lockdown cycle, Operation Clean Sea nonprofit founder Laurent Lombard warned, “Knowing that over 2 billion disposable masks have been ordered, soon there are likely to be more masks than jellyfish in the waters of the Mediterranean…!”