Research identifies best mask use strategy for health, environment  

The widespread use of disposable surgery masks to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic has raised environmental concerns. Keystone

Researchers in Switzerland have investigated different strategies to mitigate the negative environmental impact of mask use by the general population.

This content was published on May 6, 2021 - 10:56

They have concluded that the “wait and reuse” or “weekday strategy”, which involves keeping a surgical mask at room temperature for seven days before reusing is the best option.

This approach is safe and allows the number of masks used to be reduced by a factor of 10, according to researchers of Unisanté and Environmental Action.

“This solution is effective, advantageous and sustainable,” the researchers note in a statement.

Masks, they note, have played an essential role in the fight against Covid 19. 

Health authorities worldwide have called for the use of single-use disposable filter masks to prevent the virus from spreading.

These masks are usually made of synthetic materials, mainly polypropylene, and are mostly imported from China. 

It is estimated that several billion disposable masks entered the ocean in 2020, representing tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic pollution for the marine environment. 

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