A study calculated that more than 1.56 billion expired face masks used as a preventative measure to control the novel spread of coronavirus would enter the oceans in 2020, aggravating plastic waste and damaging sea life.
Masks, weighing between 4,680 and 6,240 metric tonnes, could take at least 450 years to degrade. They published microplastics that would penetrate the bodies of aquatic animals, seriously disrupting their life cycle. As reported by CGTN: 1.56 billion face masks that will likely enter our oceans in 2020.
According to various global production projections, around 52 billion masks have been manufactured in 2020 as part of pandemic prevention efforts. The discarded face masks would further add to 8 million to 13 million tonnes of waste that ends up in the ocean every year.
The plastic pile up is constantly releasing microplastics into the water, entering the food chain of marine animals, including a range of fishes consumed by humans. Such contamination is also adversely affecting human health.