The Reflection

Gull Lake High School's Online News Source

Covid after Hours: Masks after Use

In the rush of covid, there are many things that we can do to keep ourselves and others safe, wearing a mask is the most impactful. Single-use, disposable masks and other PPE are being used in our hospitals, schools, businesses, store fronts and so much more, and though billions of people are being instructed to wear a mask, it is hard to keep everyone accountable for proper disposal. 

“I’ve seen quite a few masks outside in the high school parking lot,” senior Cully Cooper said.

A disposable mask littered outside of the Highschool Molly Clark

Littering and plastic pollution was a concern before covid but adding to it at the rate we are is dangerous. On UNCTAD estimates that the global sales “will total $166 billion this year, up from around $800 million in 2019.” Even before the novel Covid-19 occurred, we had a grave issue with plastic pollution in the ocean. And it’s only going to get worse. Found by Guardian, divers have found an increase of covid-waste, including rubber gloves, floating masks, and empty hand sanitizer bottles along the shores of the Mediterranean. Future generations will most likely be seeing cleaning supplies and protective wear in their waterways for years to come. 

Another littered disposable mask in Portage photo courtsesey of Molly Clark

“I’ve seen an increase of the amount of masks and waste in downtown Kalamazoo,” senior Andrew Branstetter said.

Scientists and other environmentalists have started research to see which type of face covering is the least damaging to the environment. Fabric masks can help put to use the extra fabric you have, but may still end up in the ocean and landfills. Cleaning your fabric mask is often overlooked, and having to consistently can begin to waste water. The University College London team found machine washing reusable masks with no filters had the lowest impact over a year. On the other hand, they also found that hand washing a fabric mask and using disposable filters was found to be the most environmentally threatening. 

Author Profile

Molly Clark
Hi, I’m Molly! I’m a senior at Gull Lake High School and this is my second year being on newspaper staff. I’m going to be an editor this year. I enjoy writing about our area and local news, taking pictures, and travelling. I’m interested in aviation and am planning to go to WMU next year to pursue that.

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