Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the use of face masks has increased considerably. Unfortunately, single-use masks and reusable masks waste are piling up and becoming a new environmental hazard to animals. 

On July 19 of 2020, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Essex South Tweeted a picture of a seagull which was found trapped in the strings of a face mask. The seagull was unable to move its legs, and its limbs were swollen due to being tied up for a long time. 

Fortunately this little fellow is now in recovery in the caring hands of South Essex Wildlife, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation charity organization, but we can consider him one of the lucky ones. This type of entrapment is affecting dozens of species which has raised awareness for the proper way to dispose of masks. 

To prevent more animals from following victims of careless disposal of face masks you can start by following these simple steps to dispose of your mask!

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Step 1:

Gather your tools! You will need a pair of scissors, a knife or anything that you can use to cut an elastic string.

Step 2:

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Take your face mask and some scissors, and use the scissors to cut both sides of the face mask straps. 

Step 3:

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After the straps of the mask have been cut off, now you can dispose of the mask in any trash can or disposal container. 

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In conclusion, the point of cutting the straps is to avoid animals from getting their limbs entangled in the mask, regardless of which type of face mask you use. We use face covering to keep us safe, so now we have to do the same for the many other species we share the Earth with.

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