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COVID Lost masks in the Camino - animal hazard!

Nomadita

Caminando! 🌟🐚
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi all,

Just a thought/suggestion for those who like me are seeing tens, hundreds of masks loitering all over the camino right now, probably just lost by people.

A friend was telling me of the environmental damage by the millions of additional masks that are being used over the last year during the pandemic. Like the plastic rings around cans, they are hurting animals who get the elastic from the masks stuck on their bodies and they can't remove them.

So a suggestion to do, safely, as I have been doing with my walking poles - to tear the elastic so there is no loop to harm animals. I just step on the masks I'm finding and pull the elastic to break it with my walking pole. Even if they are put in the bin, they still make their way to the environment and the loops can still hurt animals: https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/news/single-use-face-masks-hurting-wildlife-what-you-can-do/

I hope people can carry on tearing the elastics on lost masks along the camino after I finish mine on Sunday! 😊

Buen camino 🌟🐚
 

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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
That is a good reminder. A frustrating aspect of your post is that, like the toilet paper issue, you're preaching to the choir and the target audience will get missed. The members on the Forum tend toward the 'Leave no trace behind' mode of distance walking, and there are threads that pop up on the subject from time-to-time which turn into a venting session of 'why won't people pick up there own danged debris'. There are even volunteer 'get togethers' to spend time cleaning up litter along a section or two of a camino route at a time.

I am glad you posted this, though. I hadn't even thought about the fact that masks, like toilet paper, would become an issue. Then again, why should I be surprised at the fact that Obliviots, wearing masks, would ignore commonsense things like, oh, say, properly dispose of your own danged crap? 😕

Awareness will let us pass on the message; and perhaps we can safely pick up a few masks to dispose of as we walk along the way.
 

Nomadita

Caminando! 🌟🐚
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
That is a good reminder. A frustrating aspect of your post is that, like the toilet paper issue, you're preaching to the choir and the target audience will get missed. The members on the Forum tend toward the 'Leave no trace behind' mode of distance walking, and there are threads that pop up on the subject from time-to-time which turn into a venting session of 'why won't people pick up there own danged debris'. There are even volunteer 'get togethers' to spend time cleaning up litter along a section of two at a time.

I am glad you posted this, though. I hadn't even thought about the fact that masks, like toilet paper, would become an issue. Then again, why should I be surprised at the fact that Obliviots, wearing masks, would ignore commonsense things like, oh, properly dispose your own danged crap? 😕

Awareness will let us pass on the message; and perhaps we can safely pick up a few masks to dispose of as we walk along the way.
The toilet paper is such a blight! I don't know why people can't at least bury their tissues. With the masks though, I've been seeing so many, and I think people just lose them rather than that they are littering. I don't want to be carrying someone's mask possibly infected with Covid for who knows how long til there is a bin, but at least by snapping the elastic I hope I'm saving a rabbit or something getting this thing stuck forever in their paws 😑
 
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Deleted member 61803

Guest
Yes, I Agree totally snap the elastic, save a life.

I did think there were a lot of mask litterers about until last week when I saw someone pulling a hanky or something from a jacket pocket, when lo and behold a mask also came out at the same time and fell to the ground. He walked on oblivious of the fact that he had lost his mask. Which I retrieved and binned and popped into a shop and sorted my hands with the spoldge. I now wonder how many have done this. Mind you I didn't realise about the elastic at the time. But I no longer keep my mask in a pocket which has other stuff in.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
The toilet paper is such a blight! I don't know why people can't at least bury their tissues. With the masks though, I've been seeing so many, and I think people just lose them rather than that they are littering. I don't want to be carrying someone's mask possibly infected with Covid for who knows how long til there is a bin, but at least by snapping the elastic I hope I'm saving a rabbit or something getting this thing stuck forever in their paws 😑

Burying toilet tissue is better than the current detritus confetti-fest, but the recommended thing is to bag it for later disposal, which is why I think you said, "I don't know why people can't at least bury their tissues".

Like toilet paper, which is not bio-hazardous picnic either, there are quick and safe ways to snag and isolate the Obliviot Markers for disposal in the next available trash receptacle. But I understand why folks would take a pass. I don't think it would be less potentially hazardous to try and snip elastic, though.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
That is a good reminder. A frustrating aspect of your post is that, like the toilet paper issue, you're preaching to the choir and the target audience will get missed. The members on the Forum tend toward the 'Leave no trace behind' mode of distance walking, and there are threads that pop up on the subject from time-to-time which turn into a venting session of 'why won't people pick up there own danged debris'. There are even volunteer 'get togethers' to spend time cleaning up litter along a section or two of a camino route at a time.

I am glad you posted this, though. I hadn't even thought about the fact that masks, like toilet paper, would become an issue. Then again, why should I be surprised at the fact that Obliviots, wearing masks, would ignore commonsense things like, oh, say, properly dispose of your own danged crap? 😕

Awareness will let us pass on the message; and perhaps we can safely pick up a few masks to dispose of as we walk along the way.
I awarded you a smiley for your comment,, but seriously, I completely agree with you and the OP. Too bad the world is full of careless idiots.
 

Nomadita

Caminando! 🌟🐚
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Burying toilet tissue is better than the current detritus confetti-fest, but the recommended thing is to bag it for later disposal, which is why I think you said, "I don't know why people can't at least bury their tissues".

Like toilet paper, which is not bio-hazardous picnic either, there are quick and safe ways to snag and isolate the Obliviot Markers for disposal in the next available trash receptacle. But I understand why folks would take a pass. I don't think it would be less potentially hazardous to try and snip elastic, though.
That's why I'm doing it with my boots and walking poles and sanitising them afterwards 😐 Because even if someone throws them in the bin without sniping the elastics, they still get into the environment somehow... I do hope that at some point someone does a proper cleanup of the camino though, there are soooo many masks
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Yes, I Agree totally snap the elastic, save a life.

I did think there were a lot of mask litterers about until last week when I saw someone pulling a hanky or something from a jacket pocket, when lo and behold a mask also came out at the same time and fell to the ground. He walked on oblivious of the fact that he had lost his mask. Which I retrieved and binned and popped into a shop and sorted my hands with the spoldge. I now wonder how many have done this. Mind you I didn't realise about the elastic at the time. But I no longer keep my mask in a pocket which has other stuff in.

For those not aware, it is a good idea to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer for use when a hand washing facility is not around. There are times during the day, aside from nature breaks, where hand washing is needed.

The product label needs to verify that there is a sufficient concentration of a recognized viricide like ethyl alcohol. There are a surprisingly large number of off-brand, bargain hand sanitizers that are subpar for the job. If the hand sanitizer runs low, it is easy to obtain a fresh supply.
 

Nomadita

Caminando! 🌟🐚
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Yes, I Agree totally snap the elastic, save a life.

I did think there were a lot of mask litterers about until last week when I saw someone pulling a hanky or something from a jacket pocket, when lo and behold a mask also came out at the same time and fell to the ground. He walked on oblivious of the fact that he had lost his mask. Which I retrieved and binned and popped into a shop and sorted my hands with the spoldge. I now wonder how many have done this. Mind you I didn't realise about the elastic at the time. But I no longer keep my mask in a pocket which has other
Yeah there are just too many to be just litter, plus people need them anyway to go into a shop, albergue, to walk into town etc, I've been keeping mine somewhere where it won't fall off and so far didn't lose any but I guess most people are just keeping them in their pockets
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Yes, I Agree totally snap the elastic, save a life.

I did think there were a lot of mask litterers about until last week when I saw someone pulling a hanky or something from a jacket pocket, when lo and behold a mask also came out at the same time and fell to the ground. He walked on oblivious of the fact that he had lost his mask. Which I retrieved and binned and popped into a shop and sorted my hands with the spoldge. I now wonder how many have done this. Mind you I didn't realise about the elastic at the time. But I no longer keep my mask in a pocket which has other stuff in.

I agree that there would be some unintended and unnoticed loses of masks. But, given the volume of masks, I do not believe that simply losing them explains the amount of liter. If accidental losses ARE the primary or even half of the mask litter, I wish people would start accidentally losing Euro notes instead. :)

PS. . . I just did a quick Google search, and Obliviot Mask Litter (OML) seems to have sadly become an international problem. The singular and echoed focus seems to be that much of the litter is attributable to people purposefully and improperly discarding their masks. It appears to be that whether masks or beer cans or candy wrappers or cigarette butts, there are people who will, sadly, do what is expedient and convenient for themselves regardless of the consequences to others.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
...But, given the volume of masks, I do not believe that simply losing them explains the amount of liter.
FYI: Liter is the universal measure for fluids, recognized by all of the civiliced countries in the world. Also known as the metric system. Litter, OTOH, is English speak for garbage. ;)
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Because even if someone throws them in the bin without sniping the elastics, they still get into the environment somehow...

Perhaps, but I would bet that the sheer volume of mask litter that is loose in the environment would drastically decrease to a teensy fraction if people would just bin their masks as they should. From there, waste disposal companies would need to control for spillage and loss of mask and glove garbage.

As much of a struggle as it would be to gain Obliviot compliance with the task of simply binning their masks, I sincerely doubt they would also take the time to trouble themselves to first snip the elastic.

In my mind, best practices would be a complete shift to cloth masks and leaving disposables for health care workers. I would carry two masks so that when I wash one mask, I have another to wear. This type of mask has its own issues, but they are sufficient to the task for which they are required.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I agree that there would be some unintended and unnoticed loses of masks. But, given the volume of masks, I do not believe that simply losing them explains the amount of liter.
I believe that most of the masks I see on the ground in my own neighbourhood are dropped/lost by accident. It does not make sense to toss them away in the middle of a walk. Still, we should become aware of the issues, and take better care.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
FYI: Liter is the universal measure for fluids, recognized by all of the civiliced countries in the world. Also known as the metric system. Litter is English speak for garbage. ;)
Yeah, <sigh> it is a dumb typo. I keep leaving out the second 't' and then catch myself doing so sometimes and make the correction. Obviously, I am lousy at being my own auto-spell and usage checker. :)
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019






 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
FYI: Liter is the universal measure for fluids, recognized by all of the civiliced countries in the world. Also known as the metric system. Litter, OTOH, is English speak for garbage. ;)
Amazing, Alex, what one extra little "t" will do to a word.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
The bottom line is that regardless of the origins of the masks and the disposable gloves that are littering the environment, it is an issue and it does require action to remediate. I again would like to thank our new member, Normadita, for providing an increased awareness of the issue. :)
 
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Nomadita

Caminando! 🌟🐚
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
The bottom line is that regardless of the origins of the masks and the disposable gloves that are littering the environment, it is an issue and it does require action to remediate. I again would like to thank our new member, Normadita, for providing an increased awareness of the issue. :)
If people become at least a bit more aware and just don't put them in their pockets where they will easily fall out! Unfortunately though most of them I've seen after Sarría, so probs the work of turigrinos who will never see this forum 🙄 But we can keep at least snapping the elastics
 
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LaDisapo

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Yes, I Agree totally snap the elastic, save a life.

I did think there were a lot of mask litterers about until last week when I saw someone pulling a hanky or something from a jacket pocket, when lo and behold a mask also came out at the same time and fell to the ground. He walked on oblivious of the fact that he had lost his mask. Which I retrieved and binned and popped into a shop and sorted my hands with the spoldge. I now wonder how many have done this. Mind you I didn't realise about the elastic at the time. But I no longer keep my mask in a pocket which has other stuff in.
This actually happened to me today. I was walking around SJPDP and met some pilgrims. At one point I guess the mask fell out of my pocket and luckily they let me know I had dropped it. I’d like to think this is what’s going on and not people deliberately getting rid of them on the Camino. God knows I would feel horrible if an animal got caught in mine if it had not been pointed out to me.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Yeah there are just too many to be just litter, plus people need them anyway to go into a shop, albergue, to walk into town etc, I've been keeping mine somewhere where it won't fall off and so far didn't lose any but I guess most people are just keeping them in their pockets
I’ve found I can “wear” my mask around my wrist until needed on my face.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Amazing, Alex, what one extra little "t" will do to a word.

Like sombre and sombrero; but if you don’t read the invitation before turning up to the funeral …

Anyway, back on topic - a worthwhile reminder that litter is not only unsightly, it can also be harmful.

A socially-distanced round of applause for the ditch-pigs. May they resume their endeavours soon.
 

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