Flushed face masks causing major problems at sewage treatment companies

Sewage treatment companies are facing increasing problems caused by face masks and gloves being flushed down the toilet. The Netherlands may soon be dealing with overflowing sewers and tens of millions of euros in damage, Hugo Gastkemper of RIONED, the umbrella organization for urban water management, said to BNR.

As the use of face masks and gloves increases, so does the pollution with these items, Gastkemper said. They get stuck in the pumps that pump waste water to the treatment plants, leading to backups and damages.

He believes that promoting reusable masks can be part of the solution. “It is more sustainable, you have less waste and it is probably more hygienic,” Gastkemper said to the broadcaster. He has started a campaign, but would like more support from municipalities and organizations who are making mask wearing mandatory, he said.