The COVID-19 deadly virus has not resulted in over 43,000 deaths across the globe and over 900,000 active cases closing in on to a million but it has also caused serious damage to the economies of the countries worldwide. And now we all are currently facing shortages in many areas, one of them being personal protective equipment or gear or PPE. Face masks are seen as a shortage everywhere. Even though many companies have stepped up to manufacture hundreds and thousands of face masks it is still not sufficient as most masks that are produced are only one time usable and then should be disposed of.
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Atsumi Fashion Co. a bra manufacturing company based in Toyama Prefecture has come up with a unique way of supporting the manufacturing of masks. The company is currently in the process of using repurposed women’s underwear for the manufacture of face masks. This brilliant idea came up when an employee of the company had realized that similar materials are being used in disposable masks. This is definitely a certain unique approach to easing the shortage of masks in Japan by one company. The move to support its local community was after it was announced in Himi, Japan, which the city of the company’s factory is based in, was down to its last 600 masks due to the high demand for personal protective equipment which thousands of people have brought to protect themselves and others from the deadly pandemic.
Atsumi Fashion Co. is hoping they will be able to contribute to society as the shortage of masks continues. The plan to make 1000 masks and distribute them within the city is by first prioritizing those who are in greatest need like the medical and educational institutions. By using the cloth lining from bras the company is presently working together with its employees after hours to ramp up manufacture to its fullest.
The coronavirus pandemic has not just caused a shortage of masks in Japan but around the world too. Making masks is not as easy as it seems. The ear loops have to be made, the metal strip that helps to bend around the bridge of the nose has to be made, and the packaging. Which is a pretty big system that is involved. Both the masks that are made for the medical personnel and for consumer purchases require a once-obscure material called melt-blown fabric. It’s an extremely fine mesh of synthetic polymer fibers that forms the critical inner filtration layer of a mask, allowing the wearer to breathe while reducing the inflow of possible infectious particles. And now there’s a global shortage of melt-blown fabric due to the increased demand for masks and the difficulty in producing this material. From the outset of the virus outbreak, face masks have desperately been in short supply. Far from being surprised by the deadly virus, we must recognize that such risks are inherent in contemporary globalization which means that it will, for certain, happen again. To better prepare ourselves, we need more systemic and productive changes.
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