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The surge of plastic amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

During this unprecedented crisis of COVID-19, our focus has solely been to flatten the steep-

rising curve. Amidst the pandemic, the health and safety of people is the top priority, like it should be. Front-line warriors are giving it their all to battle this pandemic while we are staying at home to help curb the situation.

Life of front-line warriors is at stake every moment; PPE kit and the best surgical masks are the essential elements safeguarding their life. The weapon-in-arms for a common man to curb the spread of this infection are face-masks and sanitizers. As a consequence, there is a surge in plastic levels during the pandemic.

Face masks are made of Polypropylene, and the expensive ones are synthesized in Polyurethane or Polyacrylonitrile material. These single-use plastics take almost 450 years to breakdown. They never decompose completely and form microplastics.

With no proper disposal, the final destination of COVID wastes, ends up being seas and oceans. The marine debris thus formed are crippling the marine life community. You would be wondering how this could affect humanity?

Sea-life creatures consume microplastics, thus gaining its entry into the food web. This would

have a rippling effect in the higher hierarchy of food web. Consuming seafood could potentially have detrimental effects on our health in the near future. Ocean Conservancy Scientists are concerned about how this could lead to a greater disaster with no turning back.

The use of PPE kits and surgical masks for front-line cannot be compromised. Hence, we need to think of other ways we can balance this situation. As preventive measures, we can switch to reusable face-masks and washing hands more frequently, decreasing the reliability of sanitizers. We can go a step ahead and make DIY masks at home.

It is effortless to make DIY masks at home. You can use the materials within your reach that are available at your home like Linen, 100% Cotton T-Shirt, Antimicrobial pillowcase, Silk, Dishtowel, and Scarf. If each person contributes in any small manner in reducing plastic use, our efforts will compound and cumulatively reduce the surge of plastic. Here is a simple way of making your own masks at home.

We don't know when the fight against COVID-19 is going to end. Until then, let us fight this pandemic with forethought of not creating a looming plastic pandemic.

Article by,

Meghana Girish

Content expert (trainee)

Treillis Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd

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