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Need to Know

Approximately 1.5 Million Face Masks Have Entered Our Oceans

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We all know by now that personal protective equipment (PPP) is one of the best ways to prevent contracting or spreading COVID-19, but these items are having a negative impact on the environment. It’s estimated that we are using and disposing of an estimated 129 billion face masks and 65 billion plastic gloves every month. (ACS Publications' Environmental Science & Technology Journal)

OceanAsia reports that the number of face masks that made it into the oceans this year may be as high as 1.5 billion. Plastic pollution is devastating the oceans. It kills an estimated 100,000 marine mammals and turtles, over a million seabirds and even greater numbers of fish, invertebrates and other animals each year. It also negatively impacts fisheries and the tourism industry and costs the global economy approximately $13 billion per year.

To help reduce the waste, individuals should use reusable face masks whenever possible to reduce the amount of trash produced. And if that’s not possible, the proper disposal of single-use PPP is critical.

Read the original story here.

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