Philippine Reef Covered with Used Face Masks

Single-use face masks aren’t just to be found scattered across shop car parks and on local greens but also, as new footage reveals, on some of the worlds most beautiful – and delicate – ecosystems. Divers in the Philippines have found scads of used masks on coral reefs close to the country’s capital, Manila. The BBC has the story.

According to an estimate by the Asian Development Bank, the city has been generating an extra 280 tonnes of medical waste per day, since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

Environmental groups are warning that the plastic inside face masks is breaking down and being consumed by marine wildlife. They’re urging the Philippine government to improve its handling of medical waste, to prevent further pollution of the seas.

Howard Johnson, a BBC News Philippines Correspondent, filmed at the reef to show the extent of the damage being done.

Single-use face masks have been termed the ‘new plastic bags’, and are bound to be the cause of a great amount of damage to ecosystems across the world due to the large quantity being used (with threats of fines for non-wearers). Last August, the Mail reported that “124,000 tons of unrecyclable masks – the equivalent weight of 10,000 London buses – could be dumped each year”, and that, by November, gloves and face masks could be found on almost a third of all British beaches.

Worth watching in full.

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