PC Team is giving away 6 PC Tokens for FREE to the first 10,000 people who will Join us! Join us here

Jun 15th, 2021 by Admin

The growing problem of ocean plastic pollution due to COVID-19

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on all of us humans. Apart from humans, the flora and fauna have suffered too. Since the virus spreads very easily personal protective equipment (PPE) has played a critical role in protecting people, particularly frontline professionals who have been working around the clock to heal millions of patients. 

Now due to this, there has been a serious increase in ocean plastic pollution raising some difficult issues for those of us who are always pushing for environmental preservation and sustainability: how will we manage the destructive effects of Covid-19-generated plastic waste?

Deteriorating environmental impact

mask in ocean

Initially, the global lockdown during the pandemic resulted in a good environmental impact. Reduced air travel and road transportation resulted in a considerable reduction in daily CO2 emissions throughout the world. However, an insurmountable issue has formed as governments stockpile plastic items like personal protective equipment (PPEs) to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. 

A growing number of houses have been observed stockpiling foodstuffs, which also come in single-use plastic packaging. According to the World Health Organization, 89 million medical masks will be required each month globally as the coronavirus epidemic continues, along with 76 million examination gloves and 1.6 million goggles and face shields.

Animal and Marine Life endangered due to plastic masks and gloves

Since the coronavirus pandemic, billions of gloves and protective masks have been discarded on a worldwide scale every day. According to the World Wildlife Fund, if just 1% of the 1 billion plastic masks worn each month in nations are thrown inappropriately, it may lead to an accumulation of 10 million plastic masks in the environment, generating unparalleled pollution.

Now due to this increased pollution, whales, fish, seabirds, turtles, and many other species are ingesting plastic and dying in large numbers as a result. Many studies are being conducted to investigate the link between human health concerns and the consumption of microplastic-containing fish (bottles and other single-use items that have broken down). Plastic garbage has wreaked havoc on oceanic ecosystems all around the world.

Increasing waste via PPE Kits

To combat the spread of the virus, healthcare personnel are required to wear PPE, and the government has demanded that everyone wear a mask whenever they enter public locations. Now with this rule in place, few people chose cloth masks, but their usefulness is still debatable. 

Since the consumption of these plastic products on a daily basis, their unregulated disposal has a negative influence on the environment. Hazardous PPE debris is stacking up in landfills, seabeds, and seas, contributing to current plastic pollution and endangering marine ecology. 

The weak system with no alternative

The worldwide pandemic has revealed critical weaknesses in our structural system, one of which has been plastic pollution for a long time. Managing this unprecedented volume of plastic garbage would be a problem for governments, particularly for developing nations, which have a weak, uncontrolled waste management system that can further endanger the health of informal sector employees. 

Due to the lack of an alternative, the present pandemic crisis has made it impossible for us to make a conscious choice. What we need is educated planning at many levels and timescales. During the recovery period, the government must prioritize ecological sustainability as a top priority in disaster preparedness. This entails investing in an effective waste management system as well as committing resources for research and development.

Need for environmental sustainability and good governance

Environmental harm dur to covid

There is a need for environmental stability and good governance in order to fight the deteriorating impact COVID – 19 has on the environment. Some of the measures that need to be adopted are:

  • We must examine post-pandemic recovery through the lens of environmental sustainability and resilience, with green projects incorporated into the economic stimulus package to create a win-win scenario for both economic revival and the country’s long-term growth. 
  • Most essentially, a behavioral shift is required in which every individual takes a deliberate decision to avoid using unrecyclable plastic items in everyday life in order to safeguard the environment and ocean bodies.
  • At this stage, it is vital that the government, in collaboration with experts and development actors, devises a practical guideline for the use and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE) at medical institutions, industries, malls, stores, and local bazaars. 
  • To guarantee that criteria regarding disposal of PPE Kits and other plastic waste are followed at all facilities, a strong monitoring structure and law enforcement, including local authorities, are essential. 
  • The media can play an important role in communicating the policy and raising public awareness. This might also be a job opportunity for young people to oversee the garbage disposal process at the neighborhood level. 
  • While a number of medical institutions are burning outdated PPEs, it is crucial that these actions do not create airborne risks.

Final remarks

With the pandemic still prevalent in many parts of the world, even after the launch of the various vaccines, it is time we find ways to combat this problem of ocean plastic pollution. The problem is growing and won’t subside any time soon, and in case we don’t find measures and policies that use resources more effectively and eliminate the use of plastic, the ocean bodies will get so polluted that all the creatures living in it will eventually become endangered.


Recent Blogs