Greta Thunberg wearing masks and contributing to pollution, claim new messages; Fact Check

Greta Thunberg, the 18-year-old environmental activist, has been a target of several allegations and morphed images with false messages on social media. However, she has increasingly become the world’s youth icon who came out harsh on many global leaders from Russian President Vladimir Putin to former US President Donald Trump.

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg

Ahead of the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change summit next month, several social media posts have appeared showing the young activist wearing a disposable mask and the claim says she is not adhering to what she says.

 

The message says, “Not once, but almost always, Greta Thunberg wears disposable masks, whilst lecturing us about our irresponsible actions.”

In addition, ahead of the Glasgow protests, several memes and questionable tweets appeared showing a young girl smoking a cigarette and holding a wine bottle in her hand. The message says, “Greta Thunberg after a week in Glasgow.” It has been shared widely on Twitter. See the picture here.

 

Fact Check

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is scheduled to be held in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, between 31 October and 12 November 2021, under the presidency of the United Kingdom.

Greta Thunberg is planning to participate in the protests in London during the summit demanding more pledges by the world’s nations to limit the global temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average. The number of allegations against Greta Thunberg also coincide with these protests in London.

However, going by the claim in the message, Greta Thunberg was not always seen wearing only disposable mask as claimed. See the visuals of her in other masks as below:

Here’s another latest visual of her:

 

While the masks often worn by Greta Thunberg include both disposable and N-95 masks, the green activist cannot be blamed for violating the green norms. The World Health Organization has clearly stated that the masks are imminent for protection during the Covid pandemic. See the video below:

Further, there is no agreement among the experts on what kind of mask should be worn. Depending on the intensity of the Covid-19 infections around, experts have suggested simple disposable masks, N-95 masks which can be worn for longer hours and even double masks in case of severe Delta strain seen recently in India.

Accordingly, Greta Thunberg and others are seen wearing different masks but the claim that she is seen wearing only disposable masks is not true going by different masks worn by her in different contexts.

Secondly, the claim says, “129 billion of these, taking up to 500 years to breakdown, kill our wildlife and now choke out seas.”  Clearly this refers to plastic pollution that is causing damage to the ocean life. A study has confirmed recently that the masks account to an irreparable damage to seas.

“Before the pandemic, we were looking at reducing the use of plastic straws, reducing packaging, but now we are looking at hundreds and thousands of these masks being disposed,” said Dr Sarper Sarp, of the university’s College of Engineering on wearing masks amid Covid-19.

The benefits of wearing the masks are huge, so we need to keep wearing them, but we need to be looking at different regulations and standardisation of the masks and the quality of the materials we use,” advised the study author. Hence, Greta Thunberg cannot be blamed for wearing a disposable mask as it is life-threatening not to wear them. However, other means of disposing them off safely is the solution experts are pondering right now.

Claim: Greta Thunberg wears disposable masks almost always.

Conclusion: False as she is seen in other N-95 masks as well in her public appearances and not always seen wearing disposable masks. The WHO has advised people to wear masks to avoid Covid-19 and there is no advice on what masks are useful in which context. Greta Thunberg cannot be singled out until a proper advice is given by experts.

Our rating: Misinterpretation —

About Arun Nag

Arun is with Digiteye India since the beginning as the main source for re-writing stories and for re-checking the facts and images. He writes on general and political issues. He can be reached at admin@digiteye.in or softmediahub@gmail.com

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