To help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Iceland during its 4th wave, face masks were still mandatory in public indoor spaces. Because of some people’s carelessness many of the masks were not disposed of properly, posing a major threat to our oceans and beyond. ‘More masks than jellyfish’ is an article on the matter written by Ashifa Kassam, published by The Guardian.
Icelandic winds can be very strong which means that the masks that we see on the streets can quickly pollute our natural environment. To prevent this from happening, around 1500 light-blue masks around the streets of Reykjavík ere collected, thoroughly disinfected with ozone gas and then shipped to Helsinki to Aleksi Saastamoinen, Fashion Design student at the Aalto University, where the masks were used as an unusual filling for “Coat-19”, a forward-looking puffer jacket that wants to highlight this absurd pandemic-related environmental issue.
Most of the disposable masks available on the market are made with a thermoplastic called polypropylene which is also used to produce Poly-fill, the most common acrylic stuffing for cheap down jackets: same material, same function, different look. Some of the light-blue masks were partly filled with organic cotton wool in order to create puffy shapes for an oversized jacket. The outer layer is a semi-transparent breathable and waterproof laminate based on bio-sources that lets the disposable masks be visible.