With discarded face masks becoming a major pollutant in the times of Covid-19, an NGO in Mangaluru has come out with the idea of biodegradable masks laced with seeds of plants and fruits, which can grow into plants when thrown out.
Paper Seed Co, the NGO based at Pakshikere, has started making such masks embedded with seeds of plants, which will sprout once discarded.
Paper Seed founder and activist Nitin Vas said most of the existing masks when thrown after use often find their way to streams and rivers, adversely affecting their ecology.
Vas said their aim is to minimise the threat posed by disposable masks to the environment.
The Paper Seed masks are made using recycled cotton rags and the inner linings are made from cotton cloth.
The outer layer of the mask is embedded with seeds of tomato and basil (tulasi) plants.
When thrown out in the soil, the seeds sprout under suitable conditions and grow into plants.
Vas said they are planning to embed passion fruit seeds also in the masks.
Even when they are thrown in public places, they will grow into fruit bearing plants.
He further said Paper Seed's face masks, priced at Rs 25, have made a good impact online.
The emphasis will be on the disposal after single use.
The main feature of the product is that it is fast degradable in the soil.
Vas noted that around 500 masks have already been distributed to NGOs working for environmental conservation.