Single-use gloves and masks threatens wildlife in Canary Islands

2020/06/23 16:18:54 Written by Canarian Weekly National

Canarias Libre de Plásticos (Canary Islands free from Plastic) has launched a campaign on their social networks to raise awareness of the proper use and disposal of protective equipment such as plastic gloves and masks: "It is sad that we try to solve one problem by generating another"

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been a mainly positive one on the environment, with levels of air pollution being the lowest in decades and wildlife being spotted in areas never seen before such as dolphins in Radazul harbour and wild boars in the centre of Barcelona, with the clearest of seas and the bluest of skies we have reason to celebrate. But this pandemic has brought a wave of new problems with the amount of single-use plastic – The numbers of gloves and masks being disposed of are huge.  

"Without a doubt, some items being disposed of  have increased, such as sanitary material, personal protective equipment (PPE), masks and gloves," Ignacio Fernández de la Puente, one of the founders of the Canary Islands Free of Plastics, told the Spanish press (Diario de Avisos),  "Today there is no material that competes directly with plastic, given its versatility and low cost." Although "there are other alternatives for some specific purposes that generate less impact on the environment," he says.

The activist is confident that citizens are increasingly concerned about the impact of their actions on nature, regardless of the fact that currently, the main concern worldwide is the health crisis caused by coronavirus. In fact, he explains that "more sustainable currents and fashions are being generated" in this regard and advocates continuing education.

However, in recent weeks the environmental NGO has received numerous photographs and videos of from residents of the Canary Islands who have witnessed the "new rubbish" that reaches the oceans.

The Canary Islands Free of Plastics, considered one of the most active ecological groups in the Archipelago, has started this weekend an awareness campaign that consists of sharing several photographs of marine animals affected by gloves and masks that are thrown into their habitat.

This campaign is to bring awareness to disposing of gloves and masks in a responsible manner and using items (such as masks) that can be reused.