AN astounding 10 million single-use face masks are used and discarded daily in Malaysia, according to the article “Expert: Over 10 million face masks binned daily” (The Star, July 8) – and that’s just a conservative estimate.
Masks used in hospitals, clinics and labs are properly channelled into the medical waste stream. Those used by the public end up in the general waste stream that is not properly equipped for such waste disposal, hence posing a big threat to the environment.
The purpose of using face masks is to catch little droplets that come out of one’s mouth and nose, which reduces the risk of spreading airborne diseases. A well-designed, reusable or washable face mask with a filter in its pocket not only serves the same purpose but also helps reduce harmful waste, said INTI Centre of Art and Design (Icad) Diploma in Fashion Design programme head Louise Yee.
Aiming to promote talent and foster a sense of community through creativity, art and design, Icad, through Creative Co., came up with ideas for reusable face masks during the movement control order.
“Creative Co. started with a few prototypes incorporating INTI students’ print designs on them. Costing between RM20 and RM30 per piece, many of these masks are reversible with two different prints on each side.
“We are still developing more unisex designs that are versatile enough to suit diverse users. These designs are made out of cotton-based fabrics that are easy to breathe in. Reusable face masks that have subtle prints or plain colours are the best for matching with various outfits, ” Yee said.
She said the main purpose of creating these reusable fabric face masks was to encourage people to reuse and reduce waste while protecting themselves.
“With face masks becoming a new essential item, Creative Co. serves as a platform to celebrate talent and collaboration among students and staff. Our mission is to establish meaningful outcomes through art and design.
“We also hope that this collaboration will foster stronger relationships with other local talents, design houses and the wider community by strengthening our common values and shared beliefs through the potentials of art and design, ” Yee added.
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