Masks are blighting our towns, cities and countryside – we must wean ourselves off this throwaway culture

UNDER park benches, hanging from trees, entangled in bushes, floating down rivers – used facemasks seem to be everywhere, blighting our towns, cities and countryside.

Around 194BILLION disposable masks and gloves are used globally every MONTH.

The Sun

Masks are blighting our towns, cities and countryside – we must wean ourselves off this throwaway culture, writes Ben Fogle[/caption]

In the UK alone, we use around 53million a day, of which 90 per cent are discarded.

While they have been vital in fighting ­Covid-19, we now face another catastrophe.

Most single-use masks and gloves are made up of a variety of plastics, which take 450 years to fully break down if they end up in the rivers and oceans.

As they break apart, the tiny particles of ­plastic begin to turn our waterways into a ­plastic soup filled with particles.

According to the United Nations, for whom I am the Patron for the ­Wilderness, 800 species worldwide are affected by marine debris, the majority of which is plastic.

Fish, seabirds and turtles have become entangled in it and consume it, causing ­suffocation, starvation and drowning. Plastic waste kills up to a million seabirds a year.

We are already facing a plastic blight from non-essential single-use products, many of them plastic.

We were facing a crisis before the pandemic but now we face the ­problem of single-use PPE. The answer is simple: We need to wean ­ourselves off this throwaway culture.

©2021 Darren Cool

Dumped facemasks kill wildlife and take hundreds of years to decompose[/caption]

Dan Charity / The Sun

Jeremy Clarkson poses with one of The Sun’s 488 recycling points[/caption]

How to recycle your disposable masks

NIPPING out to Morrisons for your weekly shop? Then round up your used disposable masks first.

You can recycle them at your local store – just look out for The Sun’s Mask Force recycling box and pop them in. Job done.

These boxes are in front of 488 stores in England, Scotland and Wales and only for disposable, single-use plastic masks.

You can go green and make it part of your weekly shopping routine.

Once each box is full, its contents will be sent off to begin a new, sustainable life, turned into benches, building materials and such like.

But remember, keep a mask ON in store, unless exempt for medical reasons.

We all know the importance of recycling, and now The Sun has teamed up with Morrisons to provide a safe, effective place for you to ­recycle your masks.

Research shows that without action, plastic could outweigh the fish in the oceans by 2050. We must all play our part to ensure it doesn’t.

I’d like to thank Sun readers for getting behind the paper’s important campaign in our fight for the environment.

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