Worldwide reports, including from Sri Lanka, the U.K, Australia, Japan and North America were gathered to demonstrate how masks have created environmental pollution that is injuring and killing wildlife
Mindless mask mandates increase your risk of death, weaken the immune system, encourage dehydration, increase headaches, decrease cognitive precision and promote facial alkalinization
Wearing surgical masks increases your daily inhalation of microplastics, while studies have demonstrated that mask wearing does not lower your risk of contracting viral illnesses, including flu and COVID-19
Yet another way in which masks have created problems is the environmental pollution that is injuring and killing wildlife.1,2,3 Experts have estimated that 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves were used and discarded each month during the pandemic. In 2020, research also suggested that 1.6 billion disposable masks from mindless mask mandates ended up in the ocean.4
But it’s not just the whole masks and gloves that have created a significant environmental problem. Although the bottled water crisis is a leading source of environmental plastic pollution, the new mask crisis is slated to outpace it. The scientists in one paper5 published in Frontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering wrote:
“… there is no official guidance on mask recycling, making it more likely to be disposed of as solid waste. With increasing reports on inappropriate disposal of masks, it is urgent to recognize this potential environmental threat.”
Masks are not being recycled. Yet, their material makes it likely they persist and accumulate in the environment. Most disposable surgical masks contain three layers — polyester outer layer, a polypropylene or polystyrene middle layer and an inner layer made of absorbent materials such as cotton.
Polypropylene is one of the most problematic plastics, as it’s widely produced, responsible for a large accumulation of waste in the environment, and is a known asthma trigger.6 The researchers noted7 that once masks are subjected to solar radiation, the degradation of polypropylene slows dramatically and leads to persistence and accumulation.
But, before the masks even break down in the environment, they are causing significant damage to wildlife, especially the bird population. You don’t have to be a bird enthusiast to understand that birds are uniquely important to the balance of the environment.
They are pollinators, they disperse seeds and they recycle nutrients.8 They are predators, scavengers and ecosystem engineers. Injuries and falling populations will have a unique and significant impact on an ecosystem on which we rely for our survival.