Updated: Oct 20
Masks that are used to stop the spread of the infamous Coronavirus are creating serious issues impacting our environment. This is because these notorious single-use masks are commonly discarded on street corners, sidewalks, and highways. Collingwood perpetrators are guilty of this habit and the environment is playing the victim.
Along with the disease itself, even COVID’s byproducts are having a negative impact on our civilization. The eventual biodegradation of single-use masks is lethal to ecosystems. Just one mask produces millions of particles which carry the potential to cause calamitous effects to our environment. From masks to microplastics to nano-plastics, these fibers infiltrate the food chain and possibly can even make it onto our own plates. Although these masks keep us safe, they can be extremely lethal to mammals. If abandoned in the environment, masks pose the risk of being mistaken for food and the ingestion can cause major health issues down the line. On top of malnutrition, disposable mask straps are choking hazards and present to the opportunity for mammals to become entangled.
These microplastics from Collingwood’s discarded masks leach into our surroundings and could possibly wreak havoc on nearby nature. To prevent our Collingwood squirrels, skunks and neighbouring ducks from ingesting hazardous materials, as well as to keep our surroundings safe for all members of our community, we have to pay attention to the disposal of these single use masks.
“Personal protective equipment is intended to help us fight a public health challenge, not create a plastic pollution problem,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
The root of the issue is our attitude. The detrimental effect is large-scaled but the solution itself is small. Simply before discarding your single-use mask; think. Take a minute to find the nearest pocket, nearest backpack, or nearest garbage to dispose of your single-use masks before our maintenance department goes crazy and your mask causes unwanted damage to our Collingwood ecosystem!