The impact of Covid-19: the burden of face masks on the environment

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The demand for face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic has surged, putting a considerable burden on the environment. According to statistics from the environmental protection organization Ocean Asia, the annual global production of surgical masks is 52 billion, 1.56 billion of which found their way into the ocean in 2020. Discarded masks littering our oceans not only pose a risk to our health and safety but also have an adverse impact on wildlife and ecosystems.

 

Wearing surgical masks looks increasingly likely to become a future norm, so the question must be how to make them more biodegradable. Because nonwoven surgical masks are made from synthetic fibers and not readily biodegradable, failure to address this problem is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. However, the environmental burden caused by masks is not a problem that can be solved by simply developing recyclable nonwoven surgical masks. Essentially, only by raising awareness about this issue do we have a hope of preventing discarded masks from becoming a new natural disaster on a similar scale to the scourge of PET bottles.

 

以下為中文對照

疫情影響 廢棄口罩成環境壓力

隨著疫情需求,口罩產量不斷升高,口罩也對環境造成了不小的負擔。據環保組織海洋亞洲的統計報告,以每年全球生產520億個口罩來算,2020年有15.6億個口罩流入海洋,這些廢棄口罩遍佈在海洋裡,對海洋生物的健康安全產生了不小的危害。

 

口罩未來可能會變常態。只是說口罩成分裡面怎麼樣去讓他會比較容易分解,不然這個以後對整個環境的污染會很嚴重,因為不織布都化學的,不容易分解。口罩造成的環境負擔,並不是研發不織布回收技術,就可以解決的問題。當它受到更多人的關注與重視,才能夠避免廢棄口罩變成像寶特瓶一樣的自然之殤。

 

 

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