As COVID-19 continues to present itself, the sight of a face mask is the new norm. Unfortunately, we’re seeing them discarded on the ground as often as on someone’s face. And it represents a sad truth of humanity.
That too many people just don’t care.
Instead of properly disposing of a face mask that may be harboring a dangerous virus, it’s tossed out a window as often as people toss out a half-empty cup of soda from McDonald’s.
But unlike a wax-covered, cardboard-esque drinking container, masks pose more of a threat. Not only because it’s trash, and the world has too much of that as it is, but it’s also hurting the wildlife.
A Face Mask is a Tangling Hazard
I remember back in the day when we had to cut the plastic rings of soda bands so fish and birds wouldn’t get snagged, hurt, or killed by them.
Nowadays, we have to do the same thing with face masks. Because of the ear loops in some types of medical coverings, birds are getting tangled on elastic straps.
And thanks to the sheer amount of masks that are getting tossed out, it’s incredibly easy for animals to walk through them. The odds are not as remote as you might think.
Plastic bottle rings, oil slicks, and now face masks? A large portion of humanity really doesn’t care about nature. But what about self-preservation?
The world is sustained by an ecological balance. Without our avian friends, who are getting tangled in masks, the insect population would surely increase.
And that is just one aspect of the balance in nature that humans take for granted.
It’s a Bio Hazard
There is a reason why doctors and emergency room attendees toss their face mask in a bio hazard container. Because, that’s what they are…a bio hazard.
And in light of the coronavirus, as well as evolving strains, you’d think people would be more self-conscious about spreading disease. However, not everyone takes that aspect into consideration.
Now, I know that COVID-19 doesn’t have that long of a life-span when left out in the open. But who knows when that mask was dropped, or if it contains something far worse than the coronavirus.
Unless you take the time and immediately test every single face mask you come across, there’s really no telling what diseases your stepping on while out for a walk.
It’s not being paranoid if there really is a threat to your health. It’s called being cautious and embracing self-preservation.
Trash is Being Swallowed by Animals
It’s growing to be a common occurrence to find dead whales on beaches around the world. But not from some mysterious illness.
Whales are washing ashore from starvation and dehydration thanks to the sheer amount of plastic they have swallowed.
Think about that for a moment; dehydration from a creature that lives in the water because of the amount of plastic it ate.
Now, I don’t know if any of this junk contained a face mask. But I would bet that it won’t be long until these medical devices find their way into a whale’s stomach.
After all, it’s getting to be as much of a common sight as drink lids and straws.
This is Only the Beginning
I personally use a re-washable gaiter when I go out. I refuse to be a part of the face mask epidemic. And unfortunately, it’s only just begun.
The sheer number of these coverings that are in the wild is staggering. When you consider the global sales of face masks jumped from $800 million to $166 billion is less than a year, that’s a lot of trash awaiting disposal.
When you’re done with your face mask, please, dispose of it properly. It’s bad enough to find cigarette butts and drink containers in the gutters.
Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.