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Environment

These Scuba Divers Are Making Face Masks Out of Plastic Waste During COVID-19 Pandemic

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Plastic pollution represents a major threat to marine life and ecosystems — and ultimately to humanity's well-being. The United Nations has prioritized life below water as Global Goal 14. You can join us in taking action on this and related issues here.

A group of scuba divers is turning plastic water bottles taken from the ocean into reusable face masks that can be used in the fight against COVID-19.

The production of the masks has helped to remove more than 1,200 pounds of ocean waste, CNN reported.

"We're very much a heart-and-soul organization. We care about the ocean and our diver community," Lisa Nicklin, the vice president of consumer marketing at the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, told CNN.

The diving organization is making the masks in partnership with Rash’R. The masks are currently available for pre-order in a number of ocean-themed patterns and come in children and adult sizes. To date, at least 15,000 masks have been pre-ordered.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended wearing face masks or some form of face covering while in public to help control the spread of COVID-19.

Each mask costs $20.40 and comes with five filters. The price covers only the cost of production, as the organization will not be making a profit from them, Nicklin told CNN.

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"We underestimated how popular they would be," Nicklin told CNN. "I think (consumers) just felt that it was a great thing to do for the ocean, while also buying something that they need."

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, at least 80 million tons of plastic waste are added to the world’s oceans each year, which can kill marine life and can end up in food consumed by humans.