Naturally the priority over the past few months has been to mitigate contagion of the virus by wearing face masks and regularly sanitising our hands.
However, environmental groups are now coming across alarming quantities of latex gloves, face masks and bottles of hand sanitiser in our oceans. This ‘COVID waste’ indicates a new kind of pollution that escalates the existing plastic crisis.
In a signed statement over 200 scientists and pandemic experts now advise that it is imperative that we all begin using reusable face masks and substituting plastic gloves with more frequent hand washing.
One thing that we can be certain of is that no matter how long the epidemic lasts, the problems of environmental degradation, climate change and plastic pollution will still be with us when it ends. Plastic and single use products are one of the greatest underlying threats to our future. In recent years, significant progress has been made to change this for the better. We cannot allow the pandemic to derail our progress. Reversion to poor practices will only serve to fuel future global crises.
We need to permanently adapt the way we live - for the environment, our health and the lives of future generations.