Since the outbreak of this pandemic, there have been some environmental benefits. I read an article on the BBC website about the canals in Venice starting to clear and fish are visible for the first time in years thanks to the massive drop in water traffic, the drop in air travel and the only people using their cars are essential workers so the traffic will be significantly reduced which means pollution has been reduced too. NASA reported that airborne nitrogen dioxide had sharply declined over China and this was partly due to the slowdown of the economy.
Shopping habits have drastically changed recently and we may have to buy a product because that’s the only one available on the shelves, not really taking into account the extra packaging this products comes in. We need food, we need produce, we will buy what we can get. Households have been encouraged to wash their hands frequently, leading to millions of extra hand wash containers headed for recycling or landfill.
People have started wearing face masks and rubber gloves when they are out in public, we are all taking precautions to ensure we do whatever we can not to catch this virus and not pass it on to someone else. However, I noticed the other day at the supermarket someone had left a discarded purple latex glove in the trolley. Over the last few days, I’ve noticed discarded gloves by drains, stuck in a bush or left on the pavement.
I appreciate people feel the need to use this protective equipment but there are some people who are taking no care in disposing them properly. These will all end up on landfill, I can’t see where else they will end up but it heartbreaking to see that someone would wear this to protect themselves but just don’t care about how they dispose of them.
Yes, we are in the grips of a pandemic and thousands of people are dying worldwide daily but we need to think about what we are still doing to our planet and how single-use plastics have an impact on our society and the planet.
The single-use plastic problem hasn’t gone away, we still need to fight that fight.