The COVID-19 pandemic has changed most everyone’s behavior. Particularly when it comes to personal protection. Unfortunately, people are generally inconsistent in their practice of safe behavior to limit the spread of the coronavirus. On my regular walks around San Francisco, I would guess about two thirds of fellow walkers are using masks. Some wearers appear to have theirs on continuously, and others, including myself, replace them over our nose and mouth when approaching another. Many who do not wear masks, also make little effort to increase the distance between themselves and others upon close approach. Bicyclists, for the most part, are fairly good at wearing a mask, perhaps around two thirds of them. Runners, however, are relatively poor at wearing a mask, with maybe only about 20% of them wearing one.
One aspect of wearing a mask is what to do with it when you take it off. I probably now have around ten washable, fabric masks, which I reuse. Most of them have a pocket into which I place one of the commercial three-ply masks to increase their effectiveness. Those too are reusable, and stand up to light rinsing.
Many people, however, do not reuse their masks. Nor have they made an effort to dispose of them properly. The prevalence of discarded masks in the environment is common to a diversity of neighborhoods, the most upscale, and those which struggle.
On some recent walks, I photographed upwards of 70-80 different masks I encountered along the streets and paths of San Francisco
The number of discarded masks you’ve seen in San Francisco alone is shocking. It makes me sad to see these masks become more disposable litter, especially when it’s so easy and cheap to reuse the cloth ones.