There are unintended / ignored / swept under the carpet consequences of the drive to get people wearing face masks to try and contain the coronavirus. Namely that they’re becoming a major source of pollution that directly causes harm to wildlife. This was becoming an issue back in the summer as this report details: Face masks, gloves and a new breed of plastic pollution – Nick Clark | Al Jazeera | 2 July 2020.
The wearing of face masks has become a contentious issue – this is how we covered it back in the summer: The face mask ‘debate’. For the record, while we have serious reservations about the effectiveness of face masks and concerns about how prolonged wearing may lead to respiratory infections, when we’re using public transport, we do wear them. When we’re on a bus or in a busy railway carriage that is. Not on an empty station platform or at an otherwise deserted bus stop – that would be nothing more than virtue signalling for the sake of it. We don’t do virtue signalling. We also wear them for the very brief time we’re in a shop so that shop workers don’t have to wear the sodding things for an entire shift.
It’s no secret that we’ve been sceptical about the lockdown and the weird and very unsettling new normal we’re now entering. That has led to us getting a bit of stick – some overt and a fair bit in the form of sly digs behind our backs. Whatever, we can take it because there are far more important things in life to worry about. However, it would be appreciated if the virtue signallers who have had a go at us about our scepticism could take a step back and look at the consequences of what they’re promoting when it comes to wearing face masks.
As well as the issues with pollution highlighted above, the production of millions upon millions of face masks is leading to even more exploitation and abuse of labour rights: Clothing companies have been praised for making protective masks. But garment workers say factory conditions are unsafe – Alessandra Bergamin | LA Times | 11 May 2020.
So, here’s a little request for the virtue signallers, some of whom have been getting on our case. One, take a look at the human cost in terms of the exploitation of labour in making these sodding things and make a stand for the workers involved. Two, take a look at the burden on the environment and wildlife in particular of the careless chucking away of these masks after they’ve been used. Stop having a go at us and start having a go at the lazy f**kers who can’t even be bothered to put their used masks in a bin!