| Share facebook twitter | RSS

Ambassador report

Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] [Free Report] The COVID-19 Fallout: Exacerbating the Plastic pile up

by Ishitwa - | 10-07-2020 22:32 Comments 14 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations

The COVID-19 Fallout: Exacerbating the Plastic pile up 

The grim reality of COVID-19 Pandemic seems to show no light at the end of the tunnel. Plastics have emerged as an indispensable source to fight the disease, especially for frontline workers. From masks to gloves, sanitiser bottles, gowns and disposable bags, the use of single-use plastics have skyrocketed. According to a WWF report, incorrect disposal of even 1% of the masks pose a huge threat, which equals to 10 million masks per month dispersed in the environment. There has been an increased amount of masks and gloves that have been sighted in the water bodies and thousands of others are being discarded on the streets without any discretion. This side of the pandemic has put Informal waste pickers at high health risk and has even threatened the recycling sector across the globe.

While on one end of spectrum, the lockdowns globally helped in reducing air pollution, the Plastic pollution has only gone from bad to worse. For instance, the discovery of the first COVID-19 case in Hong Kong had resulted in 70 masks being disposed off at a beach. Each mask is about 4 grams, which means 10 million masks would lead to the dispersion of over 40 thousand kilograms of plastic in nature. The dramatic use of plastic all over the world has brought the enitre movement of banning single-use plastics to a halt. While Medical experts have said that use of reusable materials with regular sanitation would pose no threat, businesses all across the globe sought to capitalise on the use of single-use masks and gloves, deeming them as a more hygienic-way of life in times of pandemic. In Thailand, which had previously banned use of plastics in January this year, is ought to see a 30% rise in plastic waste. Around 1.5-2 million masks are nationwide used per day especially in Bangkok where they have increased 1.7 tons per day. 

With a looming economic recession, manufacturers and consumers are sought to be more price conscious than recycle friendly. Plummeting prices of oil have led to a fall in plastic value as well. Added on to the economic turmoil, it seems hard for businesses that had promised the credence of sustainable use of plastics to adopt such strategies. As a result, new or virgin plastic is being added to the environment in due course of the pandemic. The Asian recycling sector has also been affected by the pandemic. Hong Kong-based Fukutomi Recycling Ltd. addresses how recycling business have taken a hit due to scaling down of carrier operations by shipping companies and insufficient container forwarding capacities. The global plastic scrap trade has been in distress due to lack of its operations as well as lack of interest of people in buying using recycled products.

Shifting focus to countries such as India that do not even have a proper designed recycling system, informal waste pickers on frontline are coming at high risk due to the callous disposal of used medical supplies. During lockdown, this informal sector was out of job and now as economic activities have started to resume, it is getting hard to preclude the dangerous consequences of their job. The pandemic has brought job insecurity capped with unprecedented health risk. In Indonesia, the informal sector is the backbone of plastic waste management, collecting 1 million tonnes of plastic waste per year, 70% of which is recycled. With them resuming their economic activities, private sector partners have taken initiatives to deliver urgently needed resources to waste pickers such as hand-washing facilities and masks. But what effect will these measures actually bring about, only time will tell. 

Times are hard and effective measures are limited. However, the crisis is sure to bring about solutions that are sustainable locally and globally. Now is an opportunity to start. Deploying financial support for the communities is a small initiative we can take to help and support the needy in times of crisis. You can contribute to the informal sector workers all across the globe through WEIGO foundation. Check out the various fundraiser campaigns by them to help their cause and help out in the easiest way possible. 







masks disposed in water bodies


Bal krishna Pandey

  • Bal krishna Pandey says :
    Hello Ishitwa,
    I feel glad to read your report about plastics and disposable masks pollution during this pandemic. I also have written a report about this problem with same references. You have presented in detail and thank you very much for the amazing report.
    Green cheers~

    Posted 23-07-2020 01:48

Malika  Rustamova

  • Malika Rustamova says :
    Thank you for the article. I several times though what government do with used masks and gloves.Unfortunately, it pollutes the environment. Hope in future problem with plastic waste will be solved.
    Posted 22-07-2020 03:32

Ilona Poplavskaya

  • Ilona Poplavskaya says :
    hello Ishitwa . I'm so sad to hear about it. thanks for sharing this information. COVID-19 defenses have indeed increased the amount of plastics. keep sharing. many thanks
    Posted 21-07-2020 21:58

sandesh thapa

  • sandesh thapa says :
    Hello Ishitwa,

    In our daily lives the waste generation rate tends to increase as per our demand but its proper management is still no done. we can classify our wastes into biodegradable and non-degradable which can be used for multiple purposes. the introduction and much more implication to recycling is needed and is to be made. I hope we as an eco-warrior could fight on this more sustainably as we believe for sustainability of our mother earth.

    Posted 20-07-2020 18:04

Shruti Shrestha

  • Shruti Shrestha says :
    Hello Ishitwa,
    hope you area fine

    its feel so sad to know this. hope biodegradable bioplastic come in to use soon
    thanks for sharing
    Green Cheers!
    Posted 20-07-2020 18:03

NsikakAbasi Etim Jnr

  • NsikakAbasi Etim Jnr says :
    Hello Ishitwa,
    Thank you for sharing this informative report on the plastic problems. Indeed COVID 19 has lead to an increase in the amount of plastics lying everywhere ranging from facemasks to gloves and so on. Keep sharing.
    Posted 20-07-2020 06:20

Aarati Khatri

  • Aarati Khatri says :
    Helloo Ishitwa,
    I hope you are doing great and safe wherever you are.
    With the world being on lockdown and everyone is focused on fighting this pandemic. But very few are aware about the consequences of haphazardly piling up the waste in many forms like plastics. This pandemic will sooner or later go away. But what about the plastic that have been left behind???
    Thank you for raising this issues through your report.
    Keep on writting.
    Green cheers.

    Posted 19-07-2020 21:27

Kasim kyari Yusuf

  • Kasim kyari Yusuf says :
    Wow nice and knowledgeable write up keep it up
    Thanks very much

    Posted 19-07-2020 09:29

Puja Khadka

  • Puja Khadka says :
    Thank u so much for this wonderful knowledge based writing.
    Posted 18-07-2020 14:46

Sang Su Mentor

  • Sang Su Mentor says :
    Hi Ishitwa, this is a mentor, Sang Su Lee.

    Although we are trying really hard to solve the problems right in front of us, we must take care of the future after COVID-19 situation. As you've mentioned, improper disposal of masks exerts huge threat on the environment because they are made of the same resources that make plastics. Many scientists are researching the way to make bio-degradable masks, but it takes time. Thank you for raising our awareness on this issue.

    Green cheers~
    Posted 17-07-2020 17:33

Chloe Ejisun

  • Chloe Ejisun says :
    Hi Isthitwa!
    Thank you so much for this eye opening post. Despite the fact that air pollution has dropped drastically with countries now seeing the beautiful blue sky, plastic waste has posed a bigger problem. We need to be more careful and limit the use of these plastics and make use of reusable face masks, and refillable sanitizers. Marine animals are in severe danger due to COIVD-19. I hope we all embrace green living as the solution to our problems.
    Posted 17-07-2020 04:06

Rafa Mohammed Ashique

  • Rafa Mohammed Ashique says :
    Ahlan Ishitwa!
    Greetings from UAE

    First off, congratulations on this post.

    I completely agree with the fact that the COVID-19 is Exacerbating the Plastic pile up, it does have a long-term environmental impact on the planet. but today, the global momentum for plastic waste management has been seriously disrupted. If each of the 7.8 billion people around the world had to be inoculated, this would amount to an additional plastic consumption of 400 tonnes.

    Off to share!
    Posted 16-07-2020 18:25

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Ishitwa

    Greetings and Namaste from Nepal
    Wishing you a safe stay
    Thank you for your report on The COVID-19 Fallout: Exacerbating the Plastic pile up

    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.
    Green Cheers :)

    Best wishes,
    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 13-07-2020 00:04

Taehyun Mentor

  • Taehyun Mentor says :
    Hello Ishitwa this is memtor Taehyun!

    Thank you for your comprehensive analysis of plastic problems! I think there's a lot of problems going on. Disposal of disposable masks, which have never been used around the world due to the coronavirus, and global oil prices, which have fallen due to the various manufacturing industries that have been suspended by the coronavirus, are dropping the recycling rate of plastics. These problems are complex, but you can see that they all end up as a problem. That's the increase in plastic waste. The Earth is not just for our generation, so we need to be more careful with consumption.

    Thank you for the report!

    Green cheers!
    Posted 11-07-2020 03:13

Post a comment

Please sign in