Time bomb: scientists are sounding the alarm because of disposable masks

 Time bomb: scientists sound the alarm over disposable masks

Masks required during the coronavirus pandemic are a “time bomb” for the environment.

According to a study, about three million masks are thrown away every minute around the world.

Disposable personal protective equipment contains plastic that is not biodegradable. Over time, it can break down into smaller plastic particles and release harmful chemicals. Toxic particles have the potential to disrupt entire marine food chains and contaminate drinking water, scientists say.

“With increasing reports of improper mask disposal, this potential environmental threat needs to be urgently recognized. Plastic waste is one of the most common environmental pollutants. Even before the advent of COVID, more than 300 million tons of plastic were produced worldwide per year, and most of it ends up in nature as waste, & ndash; said in an article published last year in the scientific journal Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering.

Ingestion of microplastics causes adverse health effects due to toxic chemicals and pathogens, according to scientists.

A year has passed, but researchers have not seen to heed their call. In 2021, global consumption of single-use plastic has increased by 300% since the start of the pandemic, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sarper Sarp, professor of chemical engineering at Swansea University, noted that it is essential that governments around the world work together to address this issue.

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