Discarded masks and gloves on the rise in oceans

Originally published at: Discarded masks and gloves on the rise in oceans | Boing Boing

Because of course…

We could see this coming from a mile.

I was so annoyed when the authorities over here more or less ordered everybody to use paper tissues instead of hankerchiefs and to throw them away immediately after use. The sidewalk, and even the countryside roads are now littered with a bazillion paper tissues. And worse: the plastic wrapping they came in.

I’ve since made it a custom to always have a plastic bag and a grabber-stick (?) in my bicycle bags, and I try to pick up as many masks and plastic wrappers as I can. But it’s just so much I sometimes just give up.


We need masks. We need gloves.

We do not need to eat fish or other sea life.

Half of the plastic in the ocean is fishing gear. Bycatch amounts to about 40% of what is found in a net.


Mask use will go down after vaccines are prevalent and people can interact without masks again. Stop eating fish and you’ll save hundreds of animals.

Are there any viruses that we can catch from seafood?

To be fair, this would likely still happen even if people weren’t jerks. Everything dropped ends up in the ocean. We have literally billions of people wearing this stuff every day now. People are going to accidentally drop them occasionally, and that’s a numbers game. A small percentage of people losing one unintentionally every day adds up across billions of people.

This is why manufacturers have to be held accountable for the lifecycle of their products. By playing the “personal responsibility” card constantly on the subject of litter, all we’re doing is falling hook, line, and sinker for the beverage lobby’s Crying Indian campaign that let them socialize their negative externalities.


How a conscientious mask-wearer can also be a litterer […] is a true head-scratcher.

Given how many nice cloth masks I’ve seen on the ground, I think a lot of people are dropping them accidentally.
As others have mentioned, personal rubbish isn’t the biggest source of marine plastic (no, your plastic straws aren’t killing turtles). It’s another deflection strategy, like BP’s “reduce your personal carbon footprint” PR effort, to make individuals think that they should make changes in their own life before looking at big corporations.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.