The threat of coronavirus and the risk its infectious nature poses have brought back plastic like never before. Whether it's for essential equipment like sanitizers, face masks, latex gloves, syringes, or even the disposable packaging that restaurants are relying on to reduce the risk of spreading the virus through home deliveries, the pandemic has catapulted the consumption of plastic.
All around the world the remnants of a global pandemic are testing the resolve of governments and private firms to rid the planet of its waste.
Medical waste, PPE, and online shopping are driving a surge in ocean pollution.
Overblown fears that the coronavirus could be transmitted through surfaces have created a stigma around handling nonhazardous trash, experts say. Some recyclable waste has been junked or burned.
They’re on beaches, in parking lots and on sidewalks. You probably won’t catch the coronavirus from a discarded mask, but the litter poses a risk to the environment.
A glut of discarded single-use masks and gloves is washing up on shorelines and littering the seabed.
The mismanaged plastic waste, consisting of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, vastly exceeded the capability of countries to process it properly, researchers said.
The United States is using more plastic than ever, and waste exported for recycling is often mishandled, according to a new study.
While health should be the primary concern during a pandemic, “Caring for the planet doesn’t mean we can’t care for ourselves,” said Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, who founded Plastic Free July in 2011 as a challenge for herself, her family and a few others. “We can do both at the same time.”
COVID-19 is changing how the U.S. disposes of waste. It is also threatening hard-fought victories that restricted or eliminated single-use disposable items, especially plastic, in cities and towns across the nation.
A drastic increase in use of masks and gloves, plus a decline in recycling programs, is threatening the health of the seas.
The COVID19 pandemic is having immense effects on societies across the world. It has caused millions of deaths worldwide and challenged our health systems and economies. The pandemic - and responses to it, involving lockdowns, use of personal protection equipment, and stay-at-home measures - has far reaching health and economic consequences.
“These results provide strong evidence that, in many counties, the high levels of PM 2.5 that occurred during the 2020 wildfires substantially exacerbated the health burden of Covid-19,” the authors wrote.
Plastics have become a severe transboundary threat to natural ecosystems and human health, with studies predicting a twofold increase in the number of plastic debris (including micro and nano-sized plastics) by 2030. However, such predictions will likely be aggravated by the excessive use and consumption of single-use plastics (including personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves) due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Single-use plastics are all over the front lines of the Covid-19 response.
Due to the pandemic, household and medical plastic waste has been amplified which is aggravating the current plastic pollution.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased demand for single-use plastic, intensifying pressure on this already out-of-control problem.
Demand for plastic bags, wraps and other hard-to-recycle items has surged amid worries about Covid-19.
You’ve probably heard or read or noticed that ever since the COVID-19 shutdown, the air and water all around the planet has gotten cleaner. Yes, nature is rebounding around the world.
But you also need to remember that a lot of the personal protective equipment, the masks and gloves and other medical equipment, is plastic, and much of it is being thrown carelessly away
Just two feet from the trash can lay the blue disposable, surgical mask, in stark contrast to the grimy pink sidewalk beneath it. I paused to ponder this tableau of the pandemic period.
Three-ply surgical masks, like the one I spied, are designed for safety but also disposability, which should involve placement in a trash can. Yet, I now encounter them dispersed across supermarket parking lots, outside the entrance to my home, along the path to the beach.
“Plastic pollution was already one of the greatest threats to our planet before the coronavirus outbreak,” says Pamela Coke-Hamilton, UNCTAD’s director of international trade. “The sudden boom in the daily use of certain products to keep people safe and stop the disease is making things much worse.”
Coronavirus lockdowns in South Asia reduced pollution that makes snow melt faster, which could help water supplies last longer this year.
As the world produces more protective equipment—and gorges on takeaways—pity the oceans.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis that affects everyone. Various articles have been published in the past weeks on the environmental causes and the environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This page aims at listing relevant information, research, data and/or press releases issued by our partners in Geneva and other institutions around the world.