We thought it was a break taken by the environment from us, humans when COVID-19 hit harder on us. We believe this is going to do good in nature. But as creative as always and therefore dangerous humankind have found new ways to pollute it instead.
When the COVID-19 pandemic was racing over the almost entire earth, all we heard was bad news, every day every hour. It was when we listened to some reported extinct animals reappear, when we saw bright atmospheres in polluted cities after decades; we began to see the silver lining. 2018 and the following years were a horror for nature. Heart of nature, the Amazon rain forests burned and wildfires burnt down many other valuable forests. Largest ever hole on the Ozone layer was formed above the north pole. And at the same time, a huge wave appeared all over the world, starting with teenage students to fight climate change. Everybody seemed concerned and aware of it. But, now that we are listening to the latest environment news, face masks and gloves being the new crises, not everybody; apparently the majority, has not yet learnt the lesson.
New reports are coming all over about oceans, rivers and sewers filled with dump sanitary items, especially in Europe. Disposable face masks, latex gloves, empty bottles of hand sanitizer and other single-use personal protective equipment (PPE) were disposed of irresponsibly in massive amounts.
French ocean conservative group Operation Mer Prope says they see a significant increase of PPE disposed of in Mediterranean sea. “Very worrying about the new waste related to COVID… We pick [this kind of pollution] up at every clean now, mainly latex gloves,” they posted on their official Facebook.
After a clean up on 23rd of May, they wrote again on their wall, “This is the first disposable masks to arrive in the Mediterranean,”
The irresponsible disposing of PPE does not only trouble nature but city authorities over the US. Associated Press has covered 15 cities in the US, all of which have been troubled by PPE than before. Many drainage systems were blocked, and an increased number of sewer clogs were reported during the pandemic. People flushing both PPEs and alternatives to toilet papers caused the problem. People used alternatives to toilet paper after the toilet paper deficiency resulted in panic buying at the beginning of the lockdown.
Environment protection agency of the United States has released a statement advising people of PPE in proper ways. They said used disinfectant wipes, gloves, masks, PPE was thrown in recycle bins could be contaminated and increase the risks. They advised citizens to dispose of them in the general refuse.