New Study Exposes How Facemasks and Gloves Are Killing Wildlife in Droves

Brittany M. Hughes | March 30, 2021
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A new study is offering further evidence of the environmental destruction being wrought by mankind’s overreaction to the coronavirus, saying that disposable masks are being found in unprecedented numbers among both land and ocean wildlife and creating a brand new crisis that could impact the animal kingdom for years to come.

“Covid waste,” as its called by the study’s authors, are killing all manner of birds and sea life as animals have ingested medical gloves or gotten tangled up in the threads of face masks.

The study, published in the academic publishing house Brill, called the crisis a “ticking time bomb.”

“With increasing reports on inappropriate disposal of masks, it is urgent to recognize this potential environmental threat and prevent it from becoming the next plastic problem,” researchers said.

“While we have seen reductions in air pollution…NO2 emissions…and CO2 emissions…plastic pollution seems to be increasing,” the authors said. 

“Three months after face masks became obligatory in the UK, PPE items were found on 30% of the monitored beaches and at 69% of inland clean-ups by the citizen scientists of the Great British Beach Clean … Even on the uninhabited Soko Islands, Hong Kong, already 70 discarded face masks were found on just a 100-meter stretch of beach,” they continued.

The study detailed multiple examples of fish entrapped in latex gloves, birds tangled up in facemasks, and medical waste being found in the stomachs of dead animals, on top of general piles of garbage strewn across beaches and marshlands.

“ In addition, it is recommended to take the impact of PPE litter on the environment into account when developing PPE products,” researchers urged, adding that “The PPE products that are designed to keep us safe are actually harming animals around us.”