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Survey of Habits of Using Face Masks during the COVID-19 Epidemic in Hong Kong
To cope with the 2020 outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong, the government subsidized the production of disposable masks and issued ordinances to impose social distancing measures and compulsory mask-wearing in public areas. The NGO Greeners Action conducted an online survey in October with over 1,000 people, and results show that most Hong Kong residents used 7-10 disposable masks a week, which is equivalent to 2 billion disposable masks from February to November. Most of the used masks were transported to landfills. The main ingredient of disposable masks is polypropylene, which is hard to decompose and is disastrous for the environment.
In this report, Greeners Action gives recommendations, including: The government should review the protection standards of reusable masks available in the market and create guidelines taking into consideration the need for virus prevention and environmental protection; reusable masks should be substituted for disposable masks at charitable giveaways; and, the government should study and introduce successful experiences of disposable masks recycling and reuse from other countries and enterprises.
This project relates to SDGs 11, 12 and 14.
Special thanks to IPEN's Southeast & East Asia Regional Coordinator Chinkie Peliño-Golle and Regional Hub EcoWaste Coalition for their important contributions to the development and finalization of the project.