Following the spread of the Corona (Covid-19) epidemic, the production of single-use masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment has increased, mainly made of plastics that are difficult to recycle or to dispose of safely without any environmental damage.
The journal Animal Biology published a new study on March 22, in which scientists from universities in the Netherlands documented the deadly effects of “Covid-19 litter” on animals in their natural environment. Also read Eggplant skin used to make face masks in Jordan University of Florida study reveals best types of masks to protect against Corona infection First scientific study. This is the best way to make masks at home Buoyancy syndrome… Rare turtles in Kenya swallow corona waste and die
3 million muzzles per minute
Disposable masks, as well as latex gloves, are mostly made from raw polypropylene fabrics, in addition to containing rubber cords which can be a great danger to wild animals as they are intertwined with their ends, or they can be like a trap that stops them. From movement to choking point, Besides the risk of ingestion, these are also some of the main recorded environmental impacts of plastic pollution.
According to a report published on February 28 in the journal Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 3 million masks are used every minute during the Covid-19 pandemic, and most are of the single-use type.
Thus, these statistics have sounded the alarm of those concerned with environmental affairs who see that this pollution catastrophe is not limited to the land, but also extends its impact to the marine environment.
The “Oceansasia.org” site, which is interested in monitoring plastic pollution in the aquatic environment, published a report indicating that about 1.5 billion masks drifted in the ocean in 2020 alone.
The death of land and sea animals
The team of researchers searched the internet and social media and collected comments reported on the interaction between animals and PPE waste since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The team found a chick stuck in one of the fingers of a latex glove, which led to its death, and they also found birds using “Covid-19” litter in their nests, in addition of a dead blackbird following a blockage. with rubber ropes for a muzzle, and a seagull was trying to live with a wrapped muzzle. It has turned its legs for weeks, in addition to other birds unable to remove the muzzles from their claws or beaks.
They also found bats, hedgehogs and crabs, all of which were stuck with masks and gloves as some tried to cope with the new situation they couldn’t get rid of on their own, while the other section was exposed to perdition.
Sometimes animals unwittingly eat plastic, like the Magellanic penguin that was found dead on a beach in Brazil after swallowing a muzzle that was later found in its stomach. Publicity
The researchers believe that these unintentional mistakes that we see in animals can also be made by humans, as they indicated in their study that a 6-year-old child swallowed parts of a blue-faced muzzle that had been accidentally removed. cooked in a piece of McDonald’s. chicken.
Corona waste monitoring
In order to continue collecting data and raising awareness of the pollution problem resulting from ‘Covid-19’ garbage, researchers have created a website (covidlitter.com) that allows people to share their own observations on this horrific phenomenon. , in the hope of finding effective means to deal with it, especially since the “Covid-19” 19 ”waste dispersed by land and sea will degrade into micro and nano plastics and remain in the environment for hundreds of years.
Finally, the researchers believe there is a need to educate individuals about this disaster, as it can be controlled to some extent on a personal level by cutting mask strips and cutting gloves before throwing them away, at least.
The use of disposable personal protective equipment can also be avoided if possible by creating safe and viable alternatives for prolonged use.