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Mask Litter Has Increased By A Whopping 80% Since Covid Mandates Were Implemented

By Gina Florio··  2 min read
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Mask Litter
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It's safe to say that very little good came out of the coronavirus mandates and lockdowns. We saw a huge spike in unemployment, increased rates of domestic violence, more suicides than ever, and countless small businesses shutting their doors for good.

Recent research has even found that the lockdowns barely even saved any lives. There's yet another consequence that we can add to the list: an enormous uptick in mask litter. Since the coronavirus mandates were implemented in early 2020, we have seen an 80% increase of mask litter around the world. Before the pandemic, masks made up 0.01% of litter – and now they make up 0.8%.

The Increase of Mask Litter Is Negatively Affecting the Environment

Before everyone was forced to cover their face in a mask, mask litter was almost nonexistent. The only ones who used to wear a mask were medical professionals or maybe people who worked in construction. Now it's hard to walk through any town or city and not see most people covered in masks.

Keiron Roberts, a professor of sustainability at the University of Portsmouth in England, was a lead author of the study that discovered the 80% increase of mask litter. "As soon as masks were recommended or mandates came out, mask litter started to appear," Roberts said.  "It's really stating the obvious. If you are telling people to use a mask for the first time, it will appear in litter."

He said the problem is that the mandates don't come with instructions on how to properly dispose of the masks when you're using them, so people will just throw them away carelessly, sometimes even on the sidewalk.

An 80% increase of any litter is never a good thing, but masks specifically can be dangerous to animals because of the ear loops that cause them to choke or suffocate. Additionally, the high number of masks cover the ground and limit the growth of plants as well as cause blockages in drains.

"We are only starting to scratch the surface of what these do in the environment," Roberts concluded. "Let's make sure this litter fingerprint we've got in nature is gone so we're not digging up gardens in years to come and finding masks."

At this point there doesn't seem to be any logical reason to continue enforcing mask mandates, but it doesn't seem like any of the studies that reveal the negative side effects will change the minds of policy makers anytime soon.

  Coronavirus  News
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