If at some stage during the COVID pandemic you’ve had a face mask mysteriously disappear from your pocket, you’re not alone. From March 2020 countless discarded blue and white masks started appearing around the world.
While face masks are an important protective measure against COVID-19, it quickly became clear that face mask litter was going to be a by-product of the pandemic.
Keen to study the scale of this issue, but unable to travel far from our locked-down homes, we decided to use data gathered through a citizen science app called Litterati. This app asks people around the world to record any litter they find.
In our new study, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, we analysed data on mask and glove litter from September 2019 (before the pandemic) up to October 2020. We looked at 11 countries, including the UK, and compared the litter trends with each country’s approach to dealing with COVID-19.
|Specialist publication||The Conversation|
|Publication status||Published - 9 Dec 2021|
- waste management