The Wildlife Center of Virginia shares how improper disposal of masks could harm wildlife
WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) — The Wildlife Center of Virginia is encouraging people to be more mindful when tossing out disposable masks, saying improper disposal could harm our wildlife in the Valley.
While the Wildlife Center has not yet had to treat any animals with PPE-related injuries, they said litter in the environment can be detrimental to animals, especially birds.
“They seek out food sources, and a lot of times food sources for them can be natural, but, unfortunately, human waste and debris can cause inappropriate attractions for wildlife,” Lauren Edzenga, Outreach Educator at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, said.
This causes animals to get tangled in that debris.
When throwing out your disposable masks, the Center suggests cutting the ear loops first.
“When these things end up in our waterways, a lot of times they’ll get tangled around their legs. We also see birds get tangled around their neck or around their wings. Sometimes they’re even suspended from branches,” Edzenga said.
Edzenga also suggests wearing reusable masks instead. She said it’s important to keep our wildlife healthy because if we are good to the environment, it will be good to us.
“Our wild and natural world is the same network of living things that we are a part of, so intrinsically it’s valuable for us to do well by the environment so that it’s good to us,” Edzenga said.
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