Disposable masks are a source of pollution, warns Greenpeace

On top of a health crisis, Quebec will also have a serious environmental problem on its hands if it favours disposable masks, Greenpeace is warning.

The organization issued the warning while the Legault government is “very strongly” recommending wearing a face mask in society and is flirting with the idea of making it mandatory.

On Friday, Premier François Legault promised to donate one million masks to the City of Montreal and $6 million to public transit agencies in the Montreal area to distribute free masks to riders.

The premier had previously indicated that Quebec would need “tens of millions” of masks.

Masks and disposable gloves are already polluting the sidewalks of the city, said Agnès Le Rouzic, responsible for the oceans and plastic campaign at Greenpeace Canada, in an interview on Tuesday.

These items are neither recyclable nor biodegradable and, in addition to being potentially contaminated, risk ending up in sewers and then in various rivers, she warned.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2020.

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