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The Unexpected Environmental consequences of COVID-19

In the beginning of the pandemic, people were spreading the news that COVID-19 was positive for the environment. It does make sense why that opinion would come up, with less cars on the road and planes in the sky, it makes a difference for our natural ecosystems. And it has been proven to have caused a great decrease of air pollutants in many countries. But with the increase of plastic waste for sanitary guidelines, there have been numerous environmental consequences due to COVID-19. Just remember, temporary decrease in greenhouse gas emissions is not permanent, rather the opposite unless long term change is implemented.

Waste management is not a priority and with an increase in waste, it doesn't add up. It is important to protect healthcare workers with personal protective equipment and increase safety for consumers. However, it all creates more waste and, normal disposal facilities were not built for such an increase in volume. It is important to look for solutions to this frightening reality.

The Bigger Picture

There is more plastic being used for healthcare, production industries and packaging. It is reversing zero waste initiatives and creating more waste out of toxic materials. Right now, the general public is focusing on the spread of the virus, rather than the environmental impact. If the plastic waste is not properly managed, it poses the risk of polluting marine and terrestrial ecosystems. This affects ecosystems all around the globe, altering the way we live.

The Future

Let's get to some hope. Scientists are working on systems of waste management and environmental practices. They're attempting to create models for future steps we can take while also considering the current circumstances. Here are some insights into the results and current reality of the pandemic and how we can use this experience as an asset for the future.

  • Right now, managing the pandemic and keeping people alive is the number one concern.

  • Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic should also include how our current infrastructure handled waste management.

There have been a few unexpected environmental consequences due to COVID-19. It has increased waste and pollution for the production of protective and medical equipment as well as more plastic packaging. Even though we can choose to focus on the consequences, it is important to think positively. Especially in these times of unease and anxiety. There are people working on these issues and you can volunteer your time as well. if you're interested in learning about environmental issues and creating change in your community, reach out to local environmental groups to see how you can help.

Article Contributors : Edie Whittington, Mina Chong