Written By Sumria Islam
Everywhere around the world people are wearing masks to protect themselves from a deadly virus that has killed many, but by doing that are we saving other species’ lives? Many people are wearing the typical one time medical mask, after using them we put them in the trash bin and many find their way into the ocean and kill the water animals.
Along the coastline of Hong Kong, trash collectors have found about 70 masks on the shore with 30 more appearing each month. Thus killing the environment and the animals. The non- reusable masks have strings around them that catch around the animals’ necks and block their airway, killing them. There are many ways to prevent killing the animals, one of which is using a reusable mask. This puts less garbage in the ocean and kills fewer animals. Reusable masks may contain sneezes better than the medical masks and you could save more money.
Using a reusable face mask covers up the face more, and because it is made out of cloth it can hold a lot more water than the medical masks. It can prevent the spread of Covid-19 better and all you have to do is buy one and wash it daily.
I recently interviewed Shahria Islam, she wears a handmade reusable mask everyday for college. I asked if she knew that non-reusable masks were bad for the environment and the animals, but she responded with “No, I only knew that they were better in containing the virus.” This proves not everyone knows about the environment and what is happening all around us.
I understand that many people have already stocked-up with the medical masks that they have been using the past several months and that’s okay. After using the medical mask, cut off both of the straps and then put it in the trash bin. This way it will at least protect some of the animals from getting killed. I still recommend using the reusable masks, but if you need to get rid of what you have; this is the best way to do it.
Medical masks are killing the lives of ocean animals, and it’s our job to prevent that by using reusable masks. If you are going to use a medical mask, please do so properly.