Credit Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash
Face masks are essential in helping to curb the spread of Covid-19 but the increased use of masks, and other PPE, throughout the world has led to a dramatic increase in waste.
It is estimated that 129 billion face masks have been used and disposed of during the pandemic. Much of that waste is ending up in landfills or is finding its way into the natural environment including seas and oceans.
The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has said that the country has generated 52,000 metric tons of medical waste since the start of the lockdown in March 2020.
“If every Filipino will use a disposable face mask every day, that’s 100 million a day, or 3 billion a month, of disposed face masks.”Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director Healthcare With Harm Southeast Asia
Yeb Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, called the medical waste problem an “ecological crisis.”
Many experts are encouraging people to use reusable face masks and shields wherever possible. They do stress however that they must be used correctly to prevent an increased risk of infection.
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