According to a recent report, masks can take up to 450 years to decompose.
Disposable masks were one of the most used objects in 2020 and also one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. However, the pandemic caused a huge use of them, which ended up causing a new paradigm in terms of pollution. According to a study carried out by an environmental entity, more than 1 billion masks have been destined for the ocean during the last year.
The document, published by environmentalist OceansAsia, used an estimated global production of 52 billion masks made in 2020, a conservative loss rate of 3 percent and the average weight of three to four grams for a disposable face mask. Thus, the study estimates that more than 1.5 billion masks have entered the ocean, resulting in a value between 4,680 and 6,240 metric tons of additional marine pollution by plastic materials.
According to a recent report, masks can take up to 450 years to decompose, gradually turning into microplastics, while having a profoundly negative impact on wildlife and marine ecosystems. Plastic consumption has steadily increased for years and has seen a significant increase in 2020 due to the pandemic.
„Concerns about hygiene and a greater reliance on take-out food have led to increased use of plastics, especially plastic packaging. Meanwhile, a series of measures aimed at reducing plastic consumption, such as bans on disposable plastic bags, have been postponed, paused or reversed, „said Gary Stokes, director of operations for OceansAsia, quoted by the website“ Unilad „.