Some are calling single-use face masks the new plastic bottle. Disposable masks are now becoming litter throughout the National Parks across the United States and visitors are littering the land and ancient caves.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,129 billion face masks have been used each month globally, according to some estimates.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park officials are finding masks all over the park. The park reached out to the public via Facebook requesting visitors refrain from dumping the COVID-19 protective masks.
“As you visit, we ask for your help in the protection of our parks to reduce this new waste product,” the National Park Service posted on Facebook. “We appreciate you wearing a mask and social distancing to protect one another, but please be sure to leave with all that you bring. Take full ownership in all that you bring to these places as much as what they bring to you. If it helps remember this saying, ‘take only photos, leave only well placed footprints.’”
The post went on to express concern for the changes in the caves caused by visitors, who have damaged the formations by touching the cave walls and speleothems, according to The Daily Caller.
Carlsbad Caverns isn’t the only national park being littered with masks. In July, Yellowstone National Park said masks were flying off tourists faces and into iconic geysers.