COMMUNITYENVIRONMENT

Why it is unsafe to upcycle face masks

Featured photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

by Vina Medenilla

Many people have been creatively using their time and resources to be productive and innovative during the quarantine period. However, taking necessary precautions must be done to ensure safety, especially amid the health crisis we’re currently facing.  

Tagani, a social enterprise that aims to empower farmers using digital technology, warns the public not to reuse face masks as seedling bags, which was brought up due to a circulating post online.

“It is too porous as a seedling bag so it is of inferior quality and will disintegrate every time you water the seedling. So generally, not recommended for the purpose,” said Tagani President and CEO, Keb Cuevas. Given that the face masks are disinfected and sanitized, you can save less when you buy a seedling bag that is worth Php 1.00 per piece as opposed to the sewing and disinfection costs for the materials you will be needing for a face mask seedling bag.

In Tagani’s post on Twitter, they said that a disposable mask captures and traps bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other disease-causing organisms that are detrimental to one’s health. 

Used or unused, face masks are not recommended for planting as it may put the gardener’s health, the plants, and the whole garden at risk. It can expose the garden to more pests and diseases and can harm the environment as well. 

Tagani added, “When exposed in nutrient-rich soil, these pathogens will thrive and it exposes the gardener to the contamination—such as, but not limited to, SARS-CoV-2 (known to thrive in surfaces for days) which brings Covid-19.”

 

Instead of doing this practice, buying food grade seedling bags is said to be cheaper and safer. As per Cuevas, seedling bags are the standard for planting. Should you wish to start gardening, you can use plastic containers as an alternative to pots.

 

 

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Vina Medenilla
Vina Medenilla is a content producer for Agriculture Monthly magazine. She is a graduate from Miriam College with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. Fashion, photography, and travel are some of the things she loves. For her, connection with nature is essential to one’s life.

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