Masking a problem for beautiful Bay environment?

closeup of a blue used surgical mask and a blue latex glove thrown on the wet sand of the seashore o

One of the most recurrent items seen littering Torbay are those wretched disposable masks and gloves - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Regular readers of this column may well recall my previous pledge of positivity. So, please forgive me then, as, just for this week, I renege on that promise. 

We are all, once again, in lockdown and just like many of you, I’ve been out every morning pounding the streets to keep fit.  

And I have to say, sadly, I’ve never seen so much litter around the Bay, and one of the most recurrent items seen are those wretched disposable masks and gloves.

They are everywhere; in leaf litter, in drains, roadside gutters and now in the tideline.

What the majority of people still don’t seem to realise is these masks are made from plastics and will take up to 450 years to break down!

As they fragment into dreaded microplastics, they will then be ingested by marine wildlife and eventually... us.

It was on one particular walk that I witnessed how this might be occurring; a gentleman took off his mask to wipe his glasses and a gust of wind blew it out of his hand and down the pier.

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The group he was with made no attempt to retrieve it.

The rules around this virus are, as we know, constantly changing, but as of right now there is no mandate to wear a mask outdoors. 

In fact, Government adverts stress the importance of fresh air to 'blow Covid particles away'.

Why anyone would want to deny themselves the unfettered benefits of our pure, salty seaside air  - something that has been celebrated for its health-giving properties for centuries - is quite beyond me.

However, if you only feel secure going out in a mask, that’s absolutely fine, but please, make sure it’s a well-fitted environmentally friendly version - which can be easily sourced online - and not those awful polluting single-use ones.

This pandemic has been so very damaging to our communities, businesses, children’s education and prospects – something we will all be paying for for decades to come.

Let’s not make our beautiful natural environment suffer as well.

Single-use masks in the general community need to be banned.

OK, rant over, back to ‘positivity’ next week, I promise!