Biodiversity Nepal
For the Future Generation

PPE and Facemask Pollution: Emergent of a New Challenge After COVID-19 Pandemic

Let's think about protective gears disposal before it's too late

By AZIAH AZMEE
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The world is facing the wrath of the corona virus and has been on lockdown for about seven months. Gloves, facemasks, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) have become people’s safety gears while venturing outside.

Millions of people are using these gloves, facemasks, and PPE. So where do you think these protective gears will end up? We can already see these masks and gloves littering around our streets, markets, and surrounding. It’s just a matter of time, but the next challenge world is going to face is the disposal of these protective gear.

Researchers claim most of the produced plastic ends up in nature, causing harm to both nature and living beings.

Most of our wetlands are already drowning in plastics. Plastic components are found in the diet of many aquatic birds and animals. Sometimes these aquatic beings are found being tangled up with the plastic substances. Plastic pollution is already an alarming issue, and in addition to these, PPE pollution will intensify the effects on nature and biodiversity.

PPE is made up of Polypropylene, which is also known as single-use plastic. This equipment is protecting the health of doctors and nurses from the corona virus. But at the same time, tons of single-use plastics are entering our nature, which can bring environmental hazards in the long run.

So can only disposable masks overcome this problem? Or should we focus on reusable ones? At this rate of PPE production, will we be able to dispose them properly? There are still lots of unanswered questions. It is better to work beforehand than being too late to overcome any challenge. Otherwise, in the nearby future, we should be ready to face the consequences of PPE and mask pollution.

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