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I saw a couple of masks in the gutter here the other day. Someone else saw the same masks that someone had not properly disposed of. Their take on the situation was that the masks were litter and he was happy that the masks were for the most part gone. Yeah, there are some issues with that.

First off, you should always dispose of your masks properly but there's no proof that these didn't fly out of the trashcan when the liner was being changed or blow in from some other area. This is Lubbock and that kind of thing is not even unusual. Sure, I'm aware that many people do not dispose of them properly, so we'll stick with that for the sake of argument.

Let me ask you which you think is worse: 1) a biodegradable paper mask, or 2) everything that goes into treating a COVID-19 patient. Let's say a person with a mild COVID-19 infection will need paper products, pill bottles, etc. Someone with a medium infection may need to take their car to the emergency room, use latex gloves, and/or wash numerous loads of laundry to keep their sleeping area sanitary. Now let's talk about someone with a major case of COVID-19, who may need plastic IV bags, needles, and doctors and nurses who have to travel back and forth to treat them. Finally, let's talk about all the energy and waste that goes into burying someone and having a funeral.

If you don't like masks, just say you don't like masks. The risk of not wearing them is worth a few on the ground. Oh, and the kind of people who throw masks on the ground are the same type of people who will use any excuse to not wear them. Most people who wear masks wear them out of empathy for others and are very unlikely to dispose of them improperly.

We're at a 50 percent vaccination rate. If we can get that to 70 percent, we may not need masks (certainly not to the current extent). We are also over a year into a pandemic and there's going to be fallout in many shapes and forms. We can do better about making sure masks make it to trash cans and we can do WAY better about not looking for excuses to not care for each other.