In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is dealing with a shortage of materials to be used for creating personal protective equipment. However, the Philippines might be better off, since our native abaca fibers have us covered.
"[Abaca] is the strongest natural fiber in the world," says Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) executive director Kennedy Costales. Given this quality, abaca is actively used to manufacture PPEs such as face masks and suits for medical professionals, and the demand for it is steadily rising. In fact, a face mask with an abaca filter is said to be up to seven times more effective than one without it!
According to the PhilFIDA, the Philippines is the leading source of the material, producing up to 85% of the world's abaca requirement. The demand for the fiber has risen because of the pandemic, and some local traders are hoping for government support to fulfill the surge of orders.
That said, perhaps the best quality of the abaca is its sustainability. Derived from a native plant, the fiber is renewable and biodegradable. Needless to say, it's a material to watch out for if you're looking to switch to a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Find out more about abaca and its use in creating PPE in the video below!
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