An 18-year-old from West London has been raising money for the Black Lives Matter campaign by selling sustainable coronavirus face masks.
Based in Hillingdon, Sabrina Bernard saw the opportunity to raise money during the first lockdown in June 2020. Since then it has expanded into Sabrina’s Maskeria, a business that creates face masks entirely out of recycled and biodegradable materials.
“It’s just so much better for the environment”
Selling them through Instagram for £5 each, Sabrina says her masks offer “just as much protection as disposable masks. I ordered filters to be placed inside every one and this ensures customers that they are safe from the disease.”
The masks are handmade and washable, meaning they can be used repeatedly and are “so much better for the environment” than those of single use.
She has donated half her profits, around £500, to a GoFundMe appeal under the name Black Liberation Movement UK, and hopes to continue raising more the longer face masks are mandatory in the UK.
AUDIO: Sabrina Bernard talks about how she came to make the masks
In line with official guidance provided by the government, in England members of the public should wear reusable and washable masks where possible.
Many people wear blue masks – but they are made of materials such as polyethylene, polypropylene and vinyl, plastics that are damaging to the environment.
According to a survey by Environmental Science and Technology there are 194 billion disposable masks estimated to be used globally every month. These will take up to 450 years to fully decompose, having devastating effects of pollution and on marine life.
“I don’t use one-time face masks – i think it’s a bit pointless”
Having expanded the business into creating other eco-friendly custom accessories, Sabrina believes she is doing her bit to help the environment and urges others to do the same.
“Until I started Sabrina’s Maskeria I had no idea how damaging a lot of things I used every day were, so now I don’t use one-time face masks – I think its a bit pointless. Only doctors should use them really and even then use should be limited, in my opinion.”