It’s hard to take a walk without seeing the latest single-use plastic pollution littering the sidewalks or trails. I’m talking about disposable personal protective equipment (PPE), like face masks and gloves. It didn’t take long after the pandemic began when we all started wearing masks, to see them littered all over. COVID-19 litter is the latest threat to animals, it’s easy for them to get trapped or entangled in them, and they’re being mistaken for food. Disposable masks are a weave of polypropylene plastic and other polymers which break down over time, releasing microplastics into the environment. There are a few things humans can do. Wearing reusable masks is the safest choice but if you can’t wear reusable masks, make sure you dispose of disposable masks properly by snipping the ear loops and putting them in a lidded garbage can that’s not overstuffed.
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