- Face masks made from abaca fibers are a better alternative to cloth masks because it has 7 times more filtration rate
- The mask is also eco-friendly since it is washable and biodegradable
- A Misamis Oriental-based artisan company has started producing these masks and call it 7XB face masks
Based on a study by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 10, the face mask made from abaca fiber has a filtration rate 7 times better than cloth masks. Its water absorption was found to be lower than the N95 mask.
Moreover, the material also exceeded other synthetic materials in terms of density, porosity, and water repellency.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 10 has also affirmed its biodegradability because of the absence of any plastic component. The agency has ordered 1,000 abaca fiber masks and distributed it to frontliners.
An artisan company based in Misamis Oriental, Salay Handmade Products Industries, Incorporated (SHPII), has started making these face masks from abaca paper and call it 7XB face masks. The woman-dominated social enterprise is an exporter of handmade paper made from plant-strong fibers, bark, leaves and grasses such as abaca fiber, pineapples leaves, salago bark, banana fiber, and cogon grass for 32 years.
The expected surge on the demand of abaca face masks will prompt additional liv
elihood in the region; a good way to jumpstart the economy dwindled by the pandemic.
7XB face masks are reusable and washable with water and soap. For your orders, you may visit their Facebook account here.
The Philippines produces 87% of the world demand in abaca fiber and it continues to increase since it is renewable, sustainable and biodegradable.
Kennedy Costales, executive director of the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) said that abaca fiber, being porous, makes it ideal to be used as medical fabric.
He said, “With the new normal, demand for face masks will spike exponentially worldwide. PPEs are just one of the hundred end products of the precious abaca plant.”
PhilFIDAP suggests abaca plantation can be a livelihood option for individuals availing the “Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program”. Once planted, abaca matures in 18-24 months. Harvest is every 3 to 4 months thereafter for the next 40 to 50 years without replanting.