COVID pollution: impact of COVID-19 pandemic on global plastic waste footprint – Heylion/Cell Press

8 January 2022
Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash


Are face masks doing more harm than good?

The “mask debate” rumbles on globally during the pandemic however this research paper from Heylion looks at masks from another perspective entirely – plastic waste.

Plastic products have played significant roles in protecting people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The widespread use of personal protective gear created a massive disruption in the supply chain and waste disposal system. Millions of discarded single-use plastics (masks, gloves, aprons, and bottles of sanitizers) have been added to the terrestrial environment and could cause a surge in plastics washing up the ocean coastlines and littering the seabed.

Our comprehensive data analysis does indicate that COVID-19 will reverse the momentum of years-long global battle to reduce plastic waste pollution

Science Direct: Nsikak U.Benson et al

This paper attempts to assess the environmental footprints of the global plastic wastes generated during COVID-19 and analyze the potential impacts associated with plastic pollution. The amount of plastic wastes generated worldwide since the outbreak is estimated at 1.6 million tonnes/day.

We estimate that approximately 3.4 billion single-use facemasks/face shields are discarded daily as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, globally.

Read the full article on Science Direct

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