The New Discovery about Disposable Masks we weren’t Expecting

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Amperly Hom, Journalist

How is global warming a big issue the world and earth are currently dealing with right now? What is causing global warming even though we are in a pandemic right now? Global warming has  caused climate change and many other issues. As we know, its main source is litter. The trash that’s supposed to be in the trash can is on the streets, on beaches, and in the ocean. Climate change is making the planet hotter and hotter by the day. The carbon dioxide we breathe and produce from things like factories and rockets are being trapped into the earth’s atmosphere.

The reason this is so shocking to so many people is because once the stay in lockdown order was released, the earth’s trash rate dropped massively. This was because people couldn’t go out anymore, cars couldn’t spread the carbon dioxide they always did and rocket launches were getting postponed. People couldn’t go out to do simple things like buy drinks, going shopping, and dining in at restaurants. But once articles were published that the disposable masks that we’ve been wearing were affecting the planet, everyone was shocked.

The way that germs are being spread from masks is simple. Disposable masks hold thousands of germs and once they are in the water, they can bring germs everywhere. Disposable masks are made of plastic causing it to break down like other pieces of plastic in the ocean. Plastic breaks down into microplastic, animals like plankton eat it and it can be brought up into the food chain. The big issue with this is if germs are still in the microplastic, it can soon be in a human’s system in no time. 

Just like plastic before the lockdown, plastic can get stuck to small animals like birds, fish, and turtles. Plastic the ocean can even affect bigger animals, when they mistake it for food, it fills their system and not with nutrients, the plastic will sadly eventually kill them. larger animals like whales have washed up onshore and have been filled with plastic, plastic itself washes up on shore and litter all over beaches. If a natural disaster comes onto shore; for example, hurricanes, tornados, and tsunamis, the litter covers all the land. 

Disposable masks are made of long lasting material that takes years to decompose. Some ways to help with this issue is by finding ways to either replace disposable masks or finding ways to throw them away safely. A simple, cheap, and safe solution is reusable masks, they’re made of cloth and can be reused until it breaks. If you aren’t able to get a reusable mask, cut or pull of the straps on a disposable mask before throwing it away. Another option is putting them in a bin with a lid, if not possible, put it in a public trash can. With over 94 million masks being thrown away every week, it’s important we try our best to not produce trash or litter. Even by doing the bare minimum by buying and using reusable masks, the number could drop and help a lot.