Tasc na Masc
Tasc na Masc
Coláiste Oiriall, Cnoc an Chonnaidh, Muineachán, Co. Mhuineacháin.
The Social Issue:
One of the most effective public safety measures during the COVID19 pandemic has been to wear a face mask when in public to avoid spreading the virus. However, as the team behind this project realised, single-use masks are becoming a huge part of litter and pollution throughout the world.
The main goal for the project was to reduce the pollution caused by used mask disposal. They hoped to educate people on this topic and to encourage the use of reusable masks. One other strategy was to successfully find another purpose for single-use masks to prevent their inevitable journey to landfill sites, adding to water pollution. This project helps further the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
The team has raised awareness about the issue of single-use mask pollution using social media platforms along with impactful posters. They also created an animated video on the topic that is suitable for viewing for all ages.
One of the biggest innovative actions taken by the group was to design a dedicated refuse bin for used facemasks. The bin comes equipped with a discrete blade whereby mask strings can be cut safely and then disposed of through a narrow gap. The mask strings are one of the biggest issues with mask pollution as they harm wildlife. The team discovered that there is nothing of this nature that would isolate the used masks for their collection, currently on the market.
We have already noticed a drop in masks lying in certain areas of our town. This is only the beginning and soon we will raise awareness in all counties and globally!
The team conducted a survey where they found that 92% of people who responded were made aware of face mask pollution through its campaign and have made personal changes such as ‘becoming more conscious when disposing my mask’; ‘choosing to wear a reusable mask when possible’; and ‘making an effort not to allow masks to fall out of their pockets’.
The project won the YSI Innovative Response to COVID19 Award 2021, introduced as a new award category in 2021. Nominated by YSI, the team recently represented Ireland at the 2021 SAGE cup winning a global SDG award for climate action. Read more here.Their plans for the future include continuing to highlight their facemask bin design and raise funds to donate reusable masks to schools all across the country.