Face masks that helped save lives during the coronavirus pandemic are proving hazardous to wildlife. Last year, over 1.5 billion pounds of used masks were dumped into the ocean, let alone those on the land.
More masks & gloves than jellyfish
Environmentalists and conservationists have alerted that the COVID-19 pandemic could spark a surge in ocean pollution. Soon, there will be more gloves and masks than jellyfish in the Mediterranean.
Non-surprisingly, sea turtles were also observed mistaking face masks for their prime source of food, the jellyfish.
A deadly threat to wildlife
In addition to sea turtles, macaques were caught chewing off the straps of used masks, which could end up choking these little monkeys. Even the gulls that soared in the sky were entangled by masks upon landing.
Animals, confusing COVID-19 waste for food or shelter, can easily become ensnared or choke on the straps of face masks.
Better disposal of single-use face masks
"Face masks aren't going away any time soon – but when we throw them away, these items can harm the environment and the animals who share our planet," said Ashley Fruno of animal rights group PETA.
TGB Charity urges people to dispose of your masks with consideration to protect wildlife and remember to snip the straps before binning them. That way, the means saving our life won't be a cause of other animals’ death.