Environmental Club studies COVID’s impact on non-reusable products 30-second videos being created to share with community

Working on her laptop from her usual Google Meets spot, sophomore Heron Yonas works on a PSA project to raise awareness about the harmful effects of reusable plastic masks. For the project, members took pictures of masks they found around the neighborhood and compiled them together in a video. "I love how this club keeps us up with the new environmental issues," Yonas said. "Honestly, if it weren't for this club, I would be completely blind to everything going on." Photo Credit: Heron Yonas

COVID-19 has been continuing for over a year now, which raises concern over the lack of knowledge surrounding its detrimental impacts on the environment. In light of this situation, students in Environmental Club are currently working on a project where they are making 30-second videos containing pictures and clips of litter in the Las Vegas area.

“We wanted to show how real it was even in our own neighborhoods,” sophomore Heron Yonas said. “Masks have been our main concern because non-reusable masks are plastic, and littering them destroys the land and can actually still spread the disease. It is bad for sea creatures and other animals because they can choke on them or get entangled in the strings. So we have learned, first of all, to wear renewable masks.”

In January next semester, Environmental Club plans to air the PSA videos on the Rout(e) 131 morning show. A poll was also conducted on the Southwest Shadow website asking students if they use reusable or disposable masks. 

“I don’t think many people are aware of the negative environmental effects, especially when masks are such a new concept to most,” freshman Zoey Gardberg said. “If we can make people aware and conscious of the issue even just a little, it can help.”

Not only have students been informing people on the mask plastic pollution problem, but they have also been actively adopting thoughtful habits and decisions in their daily activities.

“I stopped wearing non-reusable face masks when I learned how they are made and the different fibers that are in them that aid in ozone depletion, ocean acidification, and the production of hazardous waste,” Gardberg said. “That was definitely a shock, which is why I’ve switched to cloth masks that can be worn more than once.”

Despite the transition to full online schooling, Environmental Club is managing to connect and share ideas through communication services like Google Meet and Google Hangouts and continue working on more projects in the future. 

“The club experience has been really good,” freshman Alexa Rondez said. “I’m pretty happy with how things are going. This year, I’m really excited to see the end product of the project we are working on right now because we’ve been working on it a lot. I’m not sure what our next projects would be, but I’m looking forward to those because I feel like we can do a lot despite everything being online.”