Monaco Impact in partnership with Dietsmann launched a campaign to raise awareness on the ocean pollution caused by surgical masks and protective gloves. This current phenomenon is alarming and it does not seem likely that it will disappear overnight.
According to the BBC, we are using each month 129 billion masks and 65 billion gloves.
Number of them end up on the ground, may it be in the forest, in cities or on the beach.
In addition to representing a sanitary issue as this waste might be contaminated, it also represents an environmental problem. The latter might be less visible but should nonetheless not be underestimated.
Indeed, like much of the waste disposed of in the environment, many masks and plastic gloves end up in our rivers and oceans.
Yet, it takes around 100 years for a plastic glove to decompose itself and up to 400 years for a surgical mask.
On one side, surgical masks and protective gloves once in the sea represent macroplastics that the marine wildlife might swallow, which can lead to suffocation.
On the other side, surgical masks are made of polypropylene, a non-biodegradable, non-recyclable thermoplastic fabric that rapidly fragments itself and therefore pollutes water with microplastics.
Concerning gloves, those in later are made of natural rubber, renewable resources, but most of those made in nitrile are not biodegradable and pose the same issue.
The Tara Foundation rang alarm bells as surgical masks and protective gloves were found in the seven European rivers it sampled back in June along with microplastics.
Microplastics found in the ocean can be swallowed which allows these small particles of plastic to find their way up the food chain all the way to our plates.
In order to ensure that the surgical masks and protective gloves that we will use in the coming months do not in turn pollute our ocean, each of us needs to act responsibly.
How to behave responsibly?
Due to the fact that they might be contaminated, surgical masks and protective gloves cannot be recycled. Place your mask or glove in a dedicated trash bag, which once full has to be closed and set aside for 24h before throwing it together with domestic waste.
Our thanks go to the media below for covering our campaign:
La Gazette Monaco https://lagazettedemonaco.com/monaco-impact-ne-protegez-pas-votre-vie-au-prix-de-millions-dautres
Monaco Life https://monacolife.net/local-campaign-targets-covid-related-pollution