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STRUGGLING COUNTRIES TURN PLASTIC WASTE TO FACE MASKS FOR COVID-19 PANDEMIC


A lady on a ponytail wearing white shirt with face shield and face mask on her face, blue and pink face shields placed on a black background white text with white background white nup logo

Like many countries in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is struggling with resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteer school teachers in the Philippines turned used plastic water bottles to makeshift face masks. 

These masks are used in hospitals by brave medical front-liners helping others in their battle against the dreaded virus. Non-military government personnel have also gathered to create face masks from recycled plastic and used clothing to be used by police officers manning checkpoints throughout the country.

recycled face mask made by non-government workers

In Valenzuela, while political and health crisis looms over the country, resourceful individuals took it upon themselves to start manufacturing face shields in small workshops, offices, and even living rooms. Plastic is donated by locals and recycled to be created the face shields using 3D printers. Over 10,000 have been donated so far and there is a request for 90,000 more. The design is open-source so anyone can download and 3D print the design with any 3D printer available. The design allows for anyone to use clear plastic from used bottles. There are guidelines also in place on how to make, transport, and distribute them safely.

Other countries have also been working on ways to use plastic waste. In Greece, a retail company creates hand-free door openers that allow you to use your feet to open doors. In Uganda, community activists set up to recycle some of 600 tonnes of plastic waste generated daily. They now produce 400 essential equipment everyday for those in dire need.

With a huge gap in resources in these countries, people have used creativity to turn used plastic into life-saving equipment. When we think of plastic as a reusable resource, it becomes precious, especially in times like these. It's heartening to hear about strangers actin gin solidarity towards others in times like these. Big thanks to these heroes!


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