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Pandemic & Environment The Unaddressed Effects

The waste that is generated in our fight against COVID19 has become a new concern for our environment, as it has increased the use of plastic around the world in the form of medical kits and supplies.
Although due to lockdown in most parts of the world, there is a temporary crash in carbon emissions as fewer people are traveling and there is lesser industrial activity. 
 
Plastics have been essential for keeping hospitals running and protecting our frontline workers during this COVID-19 pandemic. 
Plastic is the bedrock of medical equipment and protective gear. 
The current increase in the use of plastic is understandable but we need to think about our planet in the long term. 
Face masks, gloves, sanitizer bottles, and other medical waste end up in the water bodies or are dumped in the open. 
Plastic waste poses a risk to wildlife as animals can suffocate on the debris by mistaking it for food. 
Amid understandable concern over health and hygiene during the pandemic, the problem of disposable plastic has taken a back seat. 
One can see a spike in the rubbish dumping which is also impacting the environment. 
Recycling services are also paused as many areas have suspended recycling services due to partial lockdown, unavailability of workers, and also due to concern about transmitting the virus at the recycling centers. 
As a result, companies increasingly returning to new plastic adding to the unsustainable levels of plastic production. 
One more such threat is the food itself. Food waste is increasing due to less import or export of food leading to increased organic waste. Local markets also can't absorb the excess production which was originally intended for export. 
Farmers are dumping the vegetables in the fields due to low cost, the decaying waste release methane, and other greenhouse gases. 
To achieve a better outcome the world must act jointly. A few minor steps that you and I can take in our daily life can be-
  • Responsible discarding products like masks and gloves rather than littering or leaving them in public places. 
  • Using reusable shopping bags, restrictions on single-use plastics. 
  • Talk to takeaway food outlets for using their own containers and refuse disposable cutlery and napkins. 
  • Look for grocery suppliers offering cardboard boxes or biodegradable bags or using reusable cloth bags that can be washed and used again. 

Reduce- cutting back on the amount of trash we make

Reuse- finding a new way to use trash

Recycle- using trash to remake new goods. 

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