Discarded Coronavirus Face Masks And Gloves Rising Threat To Ocean Life, Conservationists Warn

With the entire world stuck in a lockdown provoked by the outbreak of COVID-19 and factory activity on hold plus traffic closed, pollution levels in the air have dropped to a new low since the modern age.
But unfortunately, this does not mean that pollution has come to an end, as our oceans are still full of trash that we dispose of and now some new categories have appeared. In addition to all the plastic waste humans create and which end up in our oceans and stranded on shores, there is new evidence now that used face masks and gloves end up in the same place too.
Since these items are all disposable ones and end up in the trash after one use, many of them find their final resting place in our waters.

OceansAsia, a conservationist organization promoting cleaner waters posted a collection of pictures from a beach in Hong Kong and it paints a grim picture.
The beach was full of used disposable masks and gloves, taken there by the currents of the ocean. But this issue is not related only to Asia, as Maria Algarra from Clean This Beach Up in Miami has also noticed a huge increase in disposable masks and gloves when it comes to beach trash.
Unfortunately, these items are floating freely in the oceans and seas, affecting wildlife and posing threat to our health too as there can be lots of infected items among them. There is also an undergoing awareness campaign called #TheGloveChallenge where people who stumble upon such trash are asked to take a picture of it and share it on social media with the hashtag attached. So, if you’re asking yourself how you can help, then there some simple rules that you can follow.
First, you can use washable cloth masks which can be easily recycled, and secondly, it seems that there is even an option for washable gloves that have been labeled as safe by the WHO.
Pollution, just like COVID-19 can only be stopped with a collective effort so these matters are on what everyone should be focusing on in these trying times.

Gary Stokes, co-founder of OceansAsia, holds up masks found on beaches near Hong Kong (Feb 28th, 2020)

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