Mask Strings are Harming Wildlife


Photo by Liam Wolf on Unsplash

A simple task of removing strings from disposable masks can save a bird’s life.

With the COVID-19 Pandemic, people must wear masks to save lives. However, the strings on one-time-use surgical masks are tangling up the legs of some wildlife. In the English city of Chelmsford, Essex, the employees saw that there was a young seagull on the street for a few weeks. One day, the employees noticed that the seagull’s feet were tangled in the strings of a mask. The bird’s legs were swollen and it seemed to be traumatized from being in this situation for a long time. The employees then called the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and here, the inspector took the seagull to South Essex Wildlife Hospital. The manager at the hospital mentioned that in addition to animals being tangled in masks, the hospital has seen cases of animals, such as a fox and a hedgehog, being tangled in gloves. 

People need to rip the strings off their one-time use masks so that if it was to end up as litter, an animal will most likely not get tangled up in them. If an individual, such as a medical professional, is not able to do this, he/she can throw the mask where the contents will be securely tied up. Although this is not a panacea to all the problems that the mask/waste could cause, some animals will certainly survive if people were to cut the strings off their masks. 

To sum up, it is best to not use a one-time use face mask, but if an individual feels comfortable in one, they can as long as they rip the strings off and dispose of it properly. Only 15 seconds of your time can help save the life of an innocent creature.