The December 2020 report titled “Masks on the Beach: The Impact of COVID-19 on Marine Plastic Pollution” by the OceansAsia organization, which works for the protection of the oceans, shows that approximately 1,6 billion masks are “swimming” in our oceans. According to the data shared by the Online PR Service B2Press, which reviewed the report, it is stated that the masks cause an additional sea pollution between 4 and 680 tons and it will take up to 6 years for a single mask to disappear completely.
Recently, natural disasters such as floods, fires and increasing environmental pollution in many parts of the world, including Turkey, have mobilized the whole world for natural life at risk. Although the lockdown of people at the beginning of the pandemic was described as a "rebirth" for nature by experts, the acceleration of normalization steps reversed the picture. The balance sheet of masks, which have become an integral part of our lives, has been heavy. According to the report titled “Masks on the Beach: The Impact of COVID-2 on Marine Plastic Pollution” reviewed by online PR Service B19Press, approximately 1,6 billion masks, more than half of which are made of plastic and polymers, are floating in the oceans. It takes at least 450 years for a single mask to disappear.
The nose support wires of the masks are also a great threat to sea creatures.
In the report reviewed by B2Press, it is noted that disposable masks are biodegradable in nature and can be easily swallowed by animals by turning into microplastics. Accordingly, since ingested plastics are transferred along the food chain, it also poses a serious health risk to humans. It is seen that another mask-related danger that threatens the marine ecosystem is the nose support wires of disposable masks. The report states that these wires increase the risk of suffocation for fish and birds, while the plastic surface stimulates algae growth, causing the masks to be perceived and consumed as food, especially by turtles.
2021 billion masks produced in 52 are candidates to pollute the seas
The report, reviewed by the Online PR Service, also includes predictions that there will be more plastic than fish in the seas by 2050. Accordingly, it is predicted that a total of 2021 billion disposable masks will be produced in 52 and 3% of these masks may pollute the seas. Promoting washable and reusable masks instead of disposable and improving waste management are among the measures that will be effective in stopping the deterioration in the seas.
China produced 2020 million masks in April 450 alone!
The use of masks was made mandatory worldwide after the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 pandemic, and this requirement created a huge demand shock that caused factories and workshops to start producing disposable masks at full capacity. The data compiled by B2Press also revealed the explosion in production. Accordingly, while most of the masks were produced in China, the country's daily mask production was recorded as 2020 million units in April 450 alone.