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Discarded Disposable Masks and Gloves are Floating into the World’s Waterways

From NBC News for the Coronavirus Update, Oct. 28, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it’s important to remember to throw away used personal protective equipment properly as more items wash ashore on beaches across the world. During the annual International Coastal Cleanup last month, more than 62,000 items, including single-use masks and gloves, were collected. The amount of waste warranted a new category in the event’s 35-year history, and experts say it’s threatening the world’s oceans and marine life.  Across the world, the scientific journal Environmental Science and Technology estimates that during the pandemic, 129 billion disposable face masks and 65 million single-use gloves are being used every month. The World Economic Forum has predicted that, in terms of weight, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.

Gary Stokes, Operations Manager at OceansAsia holds face masks found on a beach in Hong Kong. (Images courtesy of OceansAsia.org).

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