The Disturbing Truth Behind the Massive Use of Face Masks and Gloves

 

 

It is day 10 of my mandatory quarantine after arriving in the Philippines.  I am well rested after the long agonizing and emotional journey home.  I am quarantined in a hotel accredited by our local government’s Department of Health for returning Filipinos. Since it is a paid quarantine facility, food, and other basic necessities is well provided for. However, after ten days, I noticed something. Due to specific health protocols, foods are packed and served in a plastic disposable food container along with the disposable spoon and fork and small bottled water.

I began to wonder, how they manage the disposal of these disposable food containers, considering that the hotel is fully booked and occupied since I arrived or even way back the time the Philippines opened its borders for returning Filipinos and Overseas Filipino Workers.  Imagine the number of accumulated plastics?

It is true then that the pandemic did not only change the way we live our lives and the way we treat people, but it has definitely affected our environment and has worsened the ocean plastic pollution problem. There is a drastic increase in the use of disposable masks and disposable gloves, along with the use of small easy to carry plastic bottles of hand sanitizers. This is threatening the health of our seas and its living organisms.

Before the pandemic or pre – COVID 19, there is a reported eight million metric tons of plastic waste dumped in the ocean every year. This equates to one garbage truck’s worth of plastic being dumped into our oceans every minute. The total weight is the equivalent of 90 aircraft carriers. That’s huge. Massive.

This is tragic for many reasons. Fish, whales, turtles, and seabirds and many other animals are eating the plastic and are dying. There are many existing studies in the process of exploring the relationship between human health problems and eating or consuming fish that contain microplastics (bottles and other single-use items that have broken down). Oceans around the world have been ravaged by plastic waste. Again, this was pre – COVID 19.

In the hindsight, the global pandemic might be the kind of silver lining environmentalist who has long been waiting. With social distancing keeping people off the road and out of the skies, the quality of air that we breathe has said to have improved. Carbon emissions have fallen by a very significant amount. The shuttering down of factories in some major cities around the world has lowered air pollutions. Suppose good news, right?

On the contrary though, the same cannot be said for our oceans and its inhabitants. Our oceans have been hit hard in the past months, with the massive use of face masks, gloves, face shields, and miniature hand sanitizer bottles. I even read somewhere that if we stitch together all of the masks manufactured already, we would probably cover the entire landmass of Switzerland.

And we are just talking about the use of these so-called PPEs. But the story of the rapid increase in the use of single-use plastic resulting from COVID – 19 is even more complicated.

 

So before things even get more complicated, we must as well act sooner and faster.

What can we possibly do?

  1. Hotels and other restaurants should serve their foods on a biodegradable container, over the plastic containers.
  2. We should buy hand sanitizers or alcohol in big containers and just have one small container for a refill in case we need to leave our homes.
  3. For non – medical practitioners, use the washable cloth masks instead of the disposable ones and refrain from using disposable gloves if not really necessary, otherwise practice regular hand washing and use hand sanitizers to disinfect.
  4. Proper waste disposal is also a must for gloves and face masks.

 

I am not an expert environmentalist but I believe these are practical tips we can all follow. In as much as we want to protect ourselves from the COVID 19 virus, we should also not forget to protect our oceans and its living organisms. After all, they are part of our ecosystem and without them how do we live our lives again after the pandemic?

 

for kate’s Friday -fun:

https://aroused.blog/2020/08/15/friday-fun-plastic/

 

Published by michnavs

Philippine-born Michelle Navajas, currently residing in Malaysia. Michelle authored the book “After – Rain Skies: A Million Stars” for PWW during their Million Stars campaign. Graduated with a Master of Education majoring in English in the Philippines, Michelle was a former college professor, teaching literature, speech & oral communication, creative writing, drama, and theatre arts. Michelle is active in her writing profession and works as a freelance creative writer. Michelle passionately blogs at www.michnavs.wordpress.com, where you can find her prose and poetry on love, life, motherhood, and her advocacy on abuse and violence. A published author on Spillwords NYC https://spillwords.com/what-if-snowflakes-dont-fall-in-winter/ Her poem “Again” is published on three platforms, on MEDIUM -an International Writers and Readers Space, AFRICA WRITERS CARAVAN, and at WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS. kindly go check the following links –https://womawordsliterarypress.home.blog/2020/06/29/imagining-life-after-the-ravaging-virulent-covid-19-pandemic-a-special-journal/ –https://personalitiesofinspiration.wordpress.com/2020/06/29/imagining-life-after-covid-19-a-womawords-june-edition/

74 thoughts on “The Disturbing Truth Behind the Massive Use of Face Masks and Gloves

  1. Glad to know you are back home, Mich and will soon reunite with your family! Yayy!!❤️

    Environmentalists here have been raising concerns about the rising mountain of plastic due to the pandemic. PPE kits are necessary for health workers but those of us who need to step out only occasionally should be very prudent with our use of masks, gloves and shields. Very doable suggestions provided by you, Mich. 👍🏼

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Punam. i have notice though that even for nonmedicals practitioners, the use of PPEs and other disposable covid protection things is way over board, plus the disturbing amount of plastic disposables for take out foods.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that the use of biodegradable items whenever possible is the way to go. I am hoping that the use of cloth re-usable masks will take the place of the disposable ones. I only wear gloves when at work but when out an about the best thing is to wash my hands frequently and avoid touching my face!! Glad you’ve made it home – I’m sure the family is as anxious to embrace you as you are them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done Mick, a very informative and thoroughly interesting article…. and the over use of plastics is deplorable, and detrimental to all the animal kingdom….. I hope your quarantine time goes well for you… Cheers Ivor..xx

    Like

      1. Good girl….”You may never know what results of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results” – Mahatma Gandhi

        Like

  4. Great post Mich, aced it again!

    We used to take our own mugs for coffee but due to covid fears we can’t anymore so many cafes here have begun to use biodegradable mugs and packaging just as you’ve suggested! Makes much more sense and I like the idea of large containers and recycle our small ones for anything not just sanitiser, moisturiser, liquid soap, shampoos, etc

    Like

    1. I was triggered kate by looking at the number of plastic food containers and spoons and forks used by the hotel..and i was also thinking they could have made used of bigger containers for toiletries sincr we are on a mandatory 14 days quarantine so it would make sense to give bigger containers rather than thr small ones which they replace everyday..

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Mismo….pero sana man lng maminimize…imagine sa hotel ko lng alone ..food packs are served in plastic containers…when i believed pwde naman ng gamitin ang option na iba..

      Like

  5. So glad to know you are home mich. you must feel so relieved. I agree with all thatnyou have said. Here, you can walk or drive through supermarket car parks and find masks, gloves etc. just thrown on the ground, littering up the car park, andvfor someone else to have to dispose of. I don’t know what we are coming to. But above all Iwas so glad this morning to see you are home. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Did not realise you were not home. You raise many good points about the pollution in the Oceans, Seas and Rivers. The sea life is dying from the polluted waters. Companies like 4 Ocean have now collected 10 million pounds of plastic waste which is being recycled.

    The Corvid-19 has caused much pollution and what will the knock on effect of the pollution be.

    Wish you safe return to your family, Bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Enjoy your home time! Covid-19 has caused us all to use more plastics. But how else to protect selves? Re-usable masks are not appropriate for health care staff especially when they need the filters and hygiene is important.For food carriers, using re-usable to buy is ok but in a quarantine facility, best they keep all safe with proper containers (disposable) of course. Too expensive I guess to buy those reycled paper containers. Take care and enjoy family. I did not know you are a Filipina. Cheers and enjoy local cuisine once you are home from quarantine quarters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you GH..i have been out of the country for a long while ….
      You too keep safe in your little red dot..😍😍😍
      P.S.

      Your funny posts and well as the ones from kate is keeping me quarantine company…lol

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Rightly said. The use of plastic is increasing and everyone is overlooking the same. On our parts we can use the points you mentioned and help save the environment around.
    I do not know what actually we humans are. Before, during and after pandemic we are the same. A great post. Thank you for sharing this. I too had not thought about it. Thank you so much Mich.

    Like

  9. Thank you for these reminders. I hope a lot of people can see this and consider acting on it. I personally use biodegradable materials, in replacement for plastic (cups, straw etc) and it is very convenient to use. In addition, I can also contribute my part in protecting our environment.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. YAY! YAY! YAY! YAY! YA-YAY!!! (Can you tell that I’m excited that you are finally home and will soon be with your precious people??!!??!! 🙂 ) I get all joy-teary eyed and happy when I think about the day you can see and hug your family again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    Excellent points about this major and important issue in our world.
    And you’ve given some excellent tips and advice on what we can all do to make a positive difference.

    We don’t get to travel a lot, but when we do we like to be in a hotel or AirBnB where we can cook most of our own meals…and the kitchenettes have real plates, glasses, mugs, silverware, etc. to use and wash. 🙂

    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Like

    1. Yay…thank you Carolyn…

      I am so glad myself too be back home…and seeing the massive use of all these one – time plastic wares really triggered me…its alarming and disturbing…

      Keep safe and take care..😀😀😀

      Liked by 1 person

  11. That is the downside of these precautions, the trash that it creates. I hadn’t given it much thought until your post. It’s a real concern. Thank you for raising our consciousness.

    Like

  12. This is so true. It’s so easy to forget, with the virus and politics in the world right now, that we still need to look after not just ourselves, but Mother Nature as well. In HK, pollution levels have actually gone down a lot because not a lot of people go out (which is crazy by city standards!!), but landfills are definitely increasing. We should all try to wear reusable masks (if it’s available to us) and limit any other waste we make. Thanks so much for this reminder mich ❤ Also, again, so glad that you reached safely!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol…i thought you went to bed already…youuu..

      Seriously, thank you dear..this is very important and should be taken seriously, otherwise we will be suffering the consequences sooner than we thought.😍😍😍

      Like

  13. I completely agree totally with your valuable and informative post, Mich. We are really spoiling our environment with all this covid pandemic and destroying our oceans. This is very sad and we are all living in a horrific way. Thanks for your share.

    Like

  14. I’m so glad to read that you’re home, Mich! Your timely post is a sober reminder…I’m so thankful that my good friend who is an excellent sewer has made us some cloth masks and yes, we bought a larger container of hand sanitizer and refill a tiny bottle for on the go use…so far, we haven’t had to purchase disposable gloves.
    Your words warm my heart, you are a true eco-warrior!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Excellent post, Mich! There are quite a few documentaries that discuss plastic issues in depth. I was part of a recycle rally a while back and the sheer amount of plastic I collected overwhelmed me. I’ll be thinking….

    Like

  16. Hi, Great post and observations. As well as writing to the hotel, perhaps you cold raise it with your city council – our Hobart City Council has banned the use of all single use plastics for all business – like carry bags, straws, cutlery and packaging for food, takeaway coffee cups etc. A mandatory city wide approach will have a much larger positive impact, as individual businesses will usually go for the cheapest and most convenient option, without considering the cost to the environment. A petition may be the best idea to get their attention. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The news of the environmental impact of all our mask-usage has definitely saddened me and also frustrated me. It seems humanity can never get it quite together, and that everything we do always loops around to hurting our planet and our home.

    Liked by 1 person

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