March 12, 2021
Researchers in the U.S. and Denmark estimated in a study in Frontiers in Environmental Science that “an astounding 129 billion face masks [are] being used globally every month,” a number that works out to three million every minute. “Most are disposable face masks made from plastic microfibers,” the researchers note.
29 Dec 2020
Over one billion of the 52 billion masks produced in 2020 will pollute the world’s oceans, warns a report published by an environmental group out of Hong Kong. …
“Single-use face masks are made from a variety of meltblown plastics and are difficult to recycle due to both composition and risk of contamination and infection,” OceansAsia’s report states. …
The report estimates nearly 7,000 tons of plastic could pollute the ocean and may take roughly 450 years to break down.
“This plastic does not ‘go away,’ but rather accumulates, breaking up into smaller and smaller pieces. Annually, it is estimated that marine plastic pollution kills 100,000 marine mammals and turtles, over a million seabirds, and even greater numbers of fish, invertebrates, and other marine life,” the report says. “Plastic pollution also profoundly impacts coastal communities, fisheries, and economies. Conservative estimates suggest that it could cost the global economy $13 billion USD per year, and lead to a 1-5% decline in ecosystem services, at a value of between $500 to $2,500 billion USD.”
The report also highlights various animals that have died due to masks.