1.6 billion disposable masks entered the ocean in 2020 and will take 450 years to biodegrade

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An estimated 1.6 billion disposable masks wound up in the ocean in 2020, creating a vast pile of floating plastic waste and threatening marine life across the planet.

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Researchers from Visual Capitalist found that 3 per cent of the 52 billion disposable single-use masks produced to curb the Covid-19 pandemic found their way into the sea.

The throwaway masks sent 5500 metric tonnes of plastic into the oceans, which will take up to 450 years to biodegrade, the group said.

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