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Oceans fall victim to COVID as masks end up as litter

Recent UN studies unmask worsening plastic pollution in Asia and elsewhere

TOKYO -- Mountains of disposable face masks and gloves used to protect against the novel coronavirus are being dumped into rivers and oceans around the world, causing serious damage to fisheries and ecosystems.

The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development on July 27 released its forecast on the effect of pandemic-related plastic waste floating in the ocean. "The negative spillover effects of plastic waste on fisheries, tourism and maritime transport, for example, add up to an estimated $40 billion each year," the U.N. body said in a report.

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