The COVID-19 pandemic has not only brought an enormous amount of additional health care waste for all countries to handle but also more trash because of the single use face masks. According to OceansAsia, a NGO that focuses on marine pollution and wildlife crimes, around 1.6 billion face masks ended up as waste in our oceans in 2020 where they endanger the lives of animals in the sea. It takes an estimated 450 years for them to biodegrade.
Recently the Speaker of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) in Jakarta (Indonesia), AA La Nyalla Mahmud Mattalitti, asked the government to encourage innovations for the production of eco-friendly face masks. It should also provide special trash cans, collection sites, and landfill sites for disposable masks, Mattalitti said, encouraging the public to use reusable masks. A good option might be the Zero Mask Waste Box that students from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) developed.