How to lessen environmental harm of disposable masks

COVID-19

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WSYR) — PPE is so important to stop the spread of COVID-19, but a new report says things like face masks are having a devastating impact on the environment.

The report found more than 1.5 billion masks were predicted to end up in the world’s oceans in 2020. That’s about 5,000 tons of plastic, which would take around 450 years to break down. 

On Earth Day, environmental leaders with Rochester Regional Health urged everyone to be mindful when choosing what kind of mask to use.

“If you’re set on using a disposable mask, there are ones made with more environmentally friendly material- hemp or other natural fibers,” said Mike Waller, Rochester Regional Health’s Director of Sustainability. 

Waller says another solution is to opt for reusable masks.

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