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Review

Uncontrolled Disposal of Used Masks Resulting in Release of Microplastics and Co-Pollutants into Environment

1
College of Urban Construction, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing 211800, China
2
Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Seoul, Seoul 02504, Korea
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lixin Zhu, Li Xu and Lihui An
Water 2022, 14(15), 2403; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14152403
Received: 30 June 2022 / Revised: 22 July 2022 / Accepted: 28 July 2022 / Published: 2 August 2022
The global panic caused by COVID-19 has continued to increase people’s demand for masks. However, due to inadequate management and disposal practice, these masks have, unfortunately, entered the environment and release a large amount of microplastics (MPs), posing a serious threat to the environment and human health. Understanding the occurrence of mask waste in various environments, release of mask-origin MPs, and related environmental risk is essential to mask-waste management in current and future epidemic prevention and control. This paper focuses on the global distribution of mask waste, the potential release of waste-origin MPs, and the impact on the environment. Specifically, the physical and chemical properties of polypropylene (the most common plastic material in a mask), which show a high adsorption capacity for heavy metals and organic pollutants and play a role as a support for microbial growth, were extensively reported. In addition, several important issues that need to be resolved are raised, which offers a direction for future research. This review focuses on the essentiality of handling masks to avoid potential environmental issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: microplastics; microfibers; masks; COVID-19; polypropylene microplastics; microfibers; masks; COVID-19; polypropylene
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhao, C.; Ting, Z.; You, Z.; Kim, H.; Shah, K.J. Uncontrolled Disposal of Used Masks Resulting in Release of Microplastics and Co-Pollutants into Environment. Water 2022, 14, 2403. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14152403

AMA Style

Zhao C, Ting Z, You Z, Kim H, Shah KJ. Uncontrolled Disposal of Used Masks Resulting in Release of Microplastics and Co-Pollutants into Environment. Water. 2022; 14(15):2403. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14152403

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhao, Changrong, Zhang Ting, Zhaoyang You, Hyunook Kim, and Kinjal J. Shah. 2022. "Uncontrolled Disposal of Used Masks Resulting in Release of Microplastics and Co-Pollutants into Environment" Water 14, no. 15: 2403. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14152403

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