The pandemic of coronavirus ensured facemasks become a necessity across the globe. From the end of 2019, when COVID-19 was first reported, face masks became a must. With the pandemic now feared in its second wave and with a mutated virus, the need to wear a mask stays prominent. But what happens when you throw away these masks? Where are the face masks ending up? More than 1.5 billion of these have already ended up in the ocean by December 2020! As per OceansAsia, an ocean conservation organisation, the planet's oceans are now ridden with more than a billion of the plastic masks. And with such a grave number, the risks of marine pollution are to haunt us in near future.

Proper disposal of face masks and PPE kits is of utmost importance. In July this year, we saw an example of how other creatures are impacted with human's irresponsible activities. A seagull's feet were trapped in a used face mask. A report from around the same time also estimated that about 200 billion face masks and gloves are disposed into the environment every month! And a lot of these masks, glove, plastics are ending up in the ocean water, where they not just wreck the marine life but will eventually impact the humans hard. 'Dirtiest Porn Ever!' Pornhub's Raunchy Video For Latest Campaign on Beating Plastic Pollution Gives a Strong Message.

Watch Video of Facemask Pollution in the Oceans:

Masks On The Beach from Gary Stokes on Vimeo.

These masks and waste which are made up with tiny fibres will eventually break down into microplastics which will negatively impact overall life. In a recent study, microplastics were even found in human placenta for the first time ever, which would result in cyborg babies being born!

Director of OceansAsia which presented the report says, this number is just the tip of the iceberg! "The 4,680 to 6,240 metric tonnes of face masks are just a small fraction of the estimated 8 to 12 million metric tonnes of plastic that enter our oceans each year." The immediate and adverse effects of marine pollution are seen on the marine animals as over a lakh of them lose their lives every year.

So what can be done? Try and use reusable masks as much as possible. Whenever you want to dispose a mask, wash it and see if it can be recycled into making something else. Reduce overall consumption of masks and avoid plastic pollution in general.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 29, 2020 02:21 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website