Sadly, COVID-19 has brought more than the scourge of disease to our planet this past year.
No April Fool’s joke here. Of the 52 billion disposable face masks manufactured globally in 2020, marine scientists estimate that 1.56 billion masks have found their way into our oceans.
As the masks are made with polypropylene, which are thin fibers of plastic, the disposable masks have resulted in up to 6,240 metric tons of additional plastic pollution that perilously impact marine life around the world.
And unfortunately, those 1.56 billion masks that entered our oceans in 2020 are there for the long term. Scientists say that they will remain in the ocean for 450 years or more, breaking into smaller pieces of plastic and threatening fish, shorebirds and other creatures in the food chain.
While this problem makes up only a small fraction of the plastic pollution invading our oceans, it is nonetheless something that we can positively affect. The report from OceansAsia asks people to wear reusable masks whenever possible, dispose of masks responsibly and reduce their overall consumption of single-use plastic.
And remember, Sanibel Island lovers can purchase reusable face coverings at ShopDingDarling.com where profits benefit wildlife, so you can shop responsibly and double your earth-friendly stakes!