This week marks the culmination of the Great British Clean (11-27 September). The clean week was rescheduled due to Covid, and like nearly everything, Covid has left its mark on the litter most commonly found; facemasks.
Whilst the convenience of daily life is already threatened by over use of plastic and non biodegradable materials, the increase of safety measures taken to protect from Covid transmissions: disposable face masks, surgical gloves and hand sanitizer has a detrimental impact on nature if disposed of improperly. Consequently these lightweight masks can end up blowing from landfills to our water sources.
As much as 13 million tonnes of plastic infiltrates oceans annually, France alone has ordered 2 billion disposable face masks. The threat of this growing demand for masks that have a lifespan of 450 years, and the longevity of face-covering measures likely to remain enforced presents a likely rise in ocean pollution.
Whilst the primary concern for the health of the nation insists on us all continuing to wear face protection in public, the Great British Clean serves to highlight to us all the importance of remaining vigilant in conserving the natural and open spaces we all so heavily relied on and enjoyed during the lockdown period.
There are still 4 days left to officially pledge your time to a litter pick. But unofficially, good practices gained should be carried on long past the end of the campaign. Here in the office we have pledged to do a monthly litter pick around the business village we work from and personally pledge to pick up any litter we see out and about on dog walks.
Buck the trend- leave something better than when you found it. Sign up at the link below.