May 23, 2020
Don’t discard the mask
Environmentalists warn
Gary Stokes, co-founder of OceansAsia, holds up the masks he found strewn across beaches near Hong Kong in February 2020 (OceansAsia)

The increase in disposable face masks and gloves being used to prevent the spread of coronavirus is threatening the health of oceans and marine life, environmentalists warn. Incorrect disposal of these objects contributes to the already significant problem of marine debris, as most are made of non-biodegradable materials.

The Ocean Conservancy discovered that many fish species consume plastics debris, confusing it for real food and estimated that at least 600 different wildlife species are threatened by the pollution.

There is also a human health risk from plastic entering the food chain with nearly a billion people around the world consuming seafood as their primary source of protein.


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