Ask a Mexican

 Ask a Mexican

COVID seems to never go away, but have you thought about the environmental impact that face masks have? Do you use disposable masks or do you have a reusable one? Do you think fabric masks are effective? What do you think will happen with them? How do you dispose of them?

Antonio Garcia, 46, deliverer. 

I have to wear a mask all day, every day and I no longer buy disposable ones. For one, it’s an investment I am no longer willing to make and it has become quite expensive. My wife made masks for all of our family and we all have a bunch which she kindly washes when she does our laundry. I am not sure if they protect and filter the virus just like medical ones, but it’s what we have now and what we can use. The disposable ones we threw in the trash, which I regret now. I’ve seen some videos of animals ingesting them and I wish I had thought of it before. 

Armida Hernandez, 63, retired. 

I have a mask that I bought from a friend that she makes, but I don’t really use it. I hardly ever leave my house. My family takes good care of us and drops off our groceries and helps us with errands. I haven’t thrown any disposable ones away. I washed them and put them in a bag near the door just in case, but don’t wear them either. I hope we find a way to recycle them because they are expensive and will contaminate a lot. 

Saul Marquez, 29, teacher. 

I have a pack of medical-grade masks and use them as little as I can because I bought a face shield and a fabric mask. I encourage my students to litter as little as they can and I saw on social media that the elastic part should be cut off so animals don’t get stuck in them, but I think it’s urgent to find a recycling solution since it’s a global problem and disposable masks are used in a very large number. 

Dora Cortez, 41, secretary. 

I made my own mask and use it every day and wash it every night. I realized I was spending too much money on masks and just couldn’t keep up. I know they contaminate a lot too, since they have a percentage of plastic and they will stay in landfills for a very long time, but I didn’t know what to do so I have thrown some to the garbage. I hope fabric masks are just as effective, because it’s what we all use now. 

Martha Rodriguez, 56, teacher.

I don’t wear a mask anymore. I hate them and I know people look at me weird, so I started using a scarf like a cowboy. I think it’s so much better. Most of us have one at home and will be reused many times. They’re cotton so they don’t pollute. When I wore masks, I threw them in the garbage. 

Carlos Sanchez, 56, driver. 

It’s a shame that some people seem to just throw their face masks on the street, not even in a bin. Even while hiking, the trails are littered with face masks. I throw them in the garbage and destroy them so they don’t get stuck in animals or reused.