More than 25,000 tons of COVID-19 Protection Waste Floats in the Oceans

Since the start of the 2020 pandemic, many have become accustomed to using personal protective equipment, which is often disposable and not used for a long time. The problem of mass pollution of the environment with used masks, gloves and bottles of antiseptics poses a significant threat to the biosphere worldwide.

More than 25,000 tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other types of plastic waste associated with COVID-19 have landed in the oceans, new research reveals.

Researchers from the School of Atmospheric Sciences at Nanjing University and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, are leading the new analysis, which looks at the period from the pandemic in 2020 to August 2021 predicts that almost three-quarters of it, about 71%, will be dumped on beaches by the end of the year.

According to the study, from the beginning of the epidemic to August 2021, 193 countries in the world produced 8.4 million tons of plastic waste related to the pandemic. Most of the plastic associated with COVID-19 comes from medical waste generated by hospitals, which "overshadows" the contribution of personal protective equipment and packaging from online shopping giants such as Amazon and eBay.

"Plastic waste harms marine life and has become a major global environmental problem," the document said in an introduction. "The recent COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased demand for single-use plastics, which has increased the pressure on this already uncontrollable problem."

The researchers say their work highlights "a long-standing problem for the ocean environment and accumulates mainly on beaches and coastal sediments."

Masks, face shields, disposable gloves and surgical...

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