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(Un)Masking Facts on What Covers your Face

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

Due to COVID-19, we now need to wear masks since a few months now. Unfortunately, this habit starts having a serious impact on our environment.

Our seas and oceans are particularly at risk.

In the years leading up to the pandemic, environmentalists had warned of the threat posed to oceans and marine life by increasing plastic pollution. The problem is that masks often contain plastics such as polypropylene which is detrimental to marine life. If historical data is a reliable indicator, it can be expected that around 75 % of the used masks will end up in landfills, or floating in the seas. Aside from the environmental damage, the financial cost, in areas such as tourism and fisheries, is estimated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) at around $40 billion.

"Opération Mer Propre" hopes that people will embrace reusable masks and swap latex gloves for more frequent handwashing. With all the alternatives, plastic isn’t the solution to protect us from Covid.

Thus, it is important that we switch from disposable to reusable masks. Where disposable masks can only be worn once, cloth masks can be reused as many times as we like.

So here are some practical tips on how to use cloth masks. First, your mask needs to have a tight fit to be really effective, i.e. tight enough to block droplets coming out of the mouth. Then, medical advice says to wash your hands when putting your mask on and off. Finally, wash your mask after every use.

Then, beyond being environmentally friendly and sustainable, cloth masks also have other advantages. They can be very stylish! Undeniably, a disposable mask is far from being sexy. Whereas a well-designed mask can be a great touch on your outfit. Moreover, depending on where you buy your cloth mask, it can even have a positive impact on society. Because, yes, some cloth masks are even fair trade.

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