Accumulation of Disposable Masks Leaving Washington state capital looking like a dumpster

Marcus Rice, Guest Writer

With the use of disposable masks on the rise, more and more masks are being left on the side of the road, and it needs to come to an end.

COVID-19 cases are rising by the day and people are wearing masks more often. Although many people have either made or purchased a cloth mask, there are many people who use disposable masks because there are many benefits.

Disposable masks are easy to get a hold of. They can be bought in a package from Fred Meyers or even given to for free before entering Costco.

Disposable masks have been credited with being more effective in containing and fighting against the spread of COVID-19 compared to their cloth counterparts, but this heightened safety shouldn’t be without a heightened awareness of proper mask disposal.

With the holidays around the corner, people have been rushing out of their homes. Due to this restlessness, more disposable masks are being used daily within the greater southern Puget Sound community.

A higher number of masks being worn has resulted in more trash being scattered around the southern Puget Sound area. In just a short 3-minute drive one can go down I-5 and pull off at the Downtown Olympia exit, continue around the roundabout and be face to face with the Washington state capital building. All along the way, they will see trash along the freeway exit and masks being plastered onto the road like a week-old apple core that has been run over every couple minutes.

Even with the capital building being representative of Washington state, disposable masks are being discarded and left on the side of the road, leaving our capital city littered with trash. This is not the ideal image for Washington State’s Capital.

The City of Olympia is full of garbage cans sitting at the corners of blocks, being placed every few hundred feet around capital lake and even being located underneath many kitchen sinks. With the relative ease of access to so many garbage cans, it makes one wonder why there is even a litter issue in the first place.

To be fair, disposable masks are so light, they seem to catch the wind like a mouse sized paraglider. Also, now that the masks are scattered around the city and main roadways, who is going to clean those up? Who would be willing to touch other people’s masks? A job of cleaning masks off the ground from around the city seems like a sure-fire way of catching the virus.

It is up to us, the greater Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey community to properly dispose of disposable masks and save the image of the Washington State Capital.

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