FAST FIVE: 1.6 Billion Disposable Masks Entered Our Oceans In 2020
The majority of these masks were produced in China, and in April 2020, the country reported a staggering daily production figure of 450 million masks.
These masks are commonly made of polypropylene, which easily breaks up into microplastics.
Disposable Doesn't Mean They're Gone Despite their single-use nature, disposable masks are expected to take more than four centuries to decompose while in the ocean.
The pandemic has extended well into 2021, and the number of disposable masks polluting our oceans is likely to continue growing.
One noteworthy example is Plaxtil, which is developing a method for recycling surgical masks so that the raw materials can be used for other products.