COVID-19 effect: Litter caused by face masks witnesses 9,000% rise, says study

WION Web Team
London Published: Dec 11, 2021, 01:48 PM(IST)

As per a research, the litter caused by face masks has increased by around 9,000% (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )

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First plastic and now, face mask. What’s common is that both have become a cause of concern due to excessive litter. If a research data collected from 11 countries is to be believed, face mask pollution is the next big thing. As per the research, the litter caused by face masks has increased by around 9,000%

First plastic and now, face mask. What’s common is that both have become a cause of concern due to excessive litter.  

If a research data collected from 11 countries is to be believed, face mask pollution is the next big thing.  

As per the research, the litter caused by face masks has increased by around 9,000%.  

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The cause is simply the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the mask mandates rolled out by numerous governments worldwide. The researchers seem to have found an “exponential increase” in the new kind of pollution. 

The study has been carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Portsmouth. It was published in ‘Nature Sustainability’ journal on Thursday.  

A comprehensive study of personal protective equipment (PPE) was conducted by the group.   

The findings have been based on data, which has been collected in 11 countries, such as Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium, Sweden, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the UK and the US, with the help of a litter collection application Litterati.  

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Dr Keiron Roberts, lead researcher, University of Portsmouth said, “Overall, the study shows the impact that legislating the use of items, such as masks can have on their occurrence as litter. We found that littered masks had an exponential increase from March 2020, resulting in an 84-fold increase by October 2020.”  

The nearly 9,000% hike in PPE litter indicates the enforcement of face mask-wearing “must be accompanied with education campaigns to limit their release into the environment,” Roberts added.  

(With inputs from agencies) 

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