(NOQ REPORT) – The planet may be facing a new plastic crisis, similar to the one brought on by bottled water, but this time involving discarded face masks. “Mass masking” continues to be recommended by most public health groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite research showing masks do not significantly reduce the incidence of infection.
As a result, it’s estimated that 129 billion face masks are used worldwide each month, which works out to about 3 million masks a minute. Most of these are the disposable variety, made from plastic microfibers.
Ranging in size from five millimeters (mm) to microscopic lengths, microplastics, which include microfibers, are being ingested by fish, plankton and other marine life, as well as the creatures on land that consume them (including humans).
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