Since the beginning of corona pandemic, the production and usage of plastic increased significantly.
8.4 million tones of plastic, from face masks, face shields, gloves and etc, have been generated from 194 countries since the spread of the virus.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increased demand for single-use plastics that intensifies pressure on an already out-of-control global plastic waste problem,” said Yiming Peng and Peipei Wu from Nanjing University, the researchers of this study.
Hospital use accounts for 87.4% of the total waste and only 7.6% is due to personal use. The remaining is caused by packaging and test kits.
“Most of the plastic is from medical waste generated by hospitals that dwarfs the contribution from personal protection equipment and online-shopping package material,” they wrote.
“The released plastics can be transported over long distances in the ocean, encounter marine wildlife, and potentially lead to injury or even death,” they added.
The mismanaged plastic waste, consisting of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, vastly exceeded the capability of countries to process it properly.