A charity has picked up hundreds of disposable face masks and plastic gloves from a tiny stretch of coast.
23-year-old Emily Stevenson is a marine biologist from the UK who leads the Beach Guardian charity and organizes clean-ups across a short stretch of coast between Newquay and Padstow.
As the dedicated charity worker explained, she and her team of volunteers have discovered and picked up as many as 650 plastic gloves and over 250 disposable face masks from the tiny portion of the coastline.
“PPE waste is everywhere. We’re finding on average five to ten masks on every clean,” Stevenson explained.
As the marine expert went on to say, it could take hundreds of years for the improperly disposed items to fully decompose in the sea.
“Left in the ocean, they will take an estimated 450 years to degrade. We’re finding more on our beach cleans than we are anywhere else,” the young environmentalist added.
“This is really frightening because it’s that final point of contact before it goes out into the ocean. If it’s not picked up now, it probably never will be.
“When a mask is dropped on the ground or blown out of a car door, it can easily find its way to the sea. Washed down into a drain by rainfall, it will travel into a river and flow down to the estuary, where it will be swept out to sea or eventually be washed up on a beach.”
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