The effects of COVID-19

The+effects+of+COVID-19

The outbreak of COVID-19 was first reported on December 31, 2019, in Wuhan, China. On January 20, 2020, the first patient in Washington state was diagnosed with the first case of COVID-19. This virus caused masks to be mandatory in public settings toward the end of March. This pandemic has caused major effects that affect the health of the ocean, marine life, and people’s health. The pollution of single-use masks and latex gloves have become a problem for society and the environment.
During this pandemic, marine life and the health of the ocean has been endangered. COVID-19 has resulted in re-usable masks and gloves polluting the oceans. According to the CNN website: “The production of a single-use PPE has drastically ramped up during the pandemic. A recent study in the Environmental, Science, & Technology journal estimates that 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves are being used each month.” (www.cnn.com) This is the estimation of how many re-usable masks will be polluting the ocean. These single-use masks endanger ocean life by confusing them for food. In the same article, it states: “If items like masks and gloves end up in the ocean, species like seabirds and sea turtles might become entangled in them or ingest them, according to Mallos.” (www.cnn.com) These were examples of how single-use masks hurt marine life.
The pollution of single-use masks and gloves aren’t just a problem for marine life and oceans. But, also a problem that is risking the health of people in a public setting such as the grocery store. The Independent website states: “It not only causes risks to wildlife but to other people who could get infected, our sanitation workers and other shoppers for example, when gloves are left in carts.” (www.independent.co.uk) This is how the pollution of gloves can be a danger to people’s health. A used mask can be a danger to someone’s health only if touched moments after being littered. The New York Times website states: “Dr. Marr said, noting that the virus could survive longer if an infected mask was in a shady area or had been dropped at night.” (www.nytimes.com) This could be prevented by properly disposing the mask.
The pollution can be decreased with the help of people using reusable masks instead of single-use masks. Reusable masks are eco-friendly and can decompose faster than a single-use mask. Disposable masks are made from a material named polypropylene. The website EcoWatch states: “With a lifespan of 450 years, these masks are an ecological timebomb given their lasting environmental consequences for our planet.” (www.ecowatch.com) This is how disposable masks will create more pollution. Reusable masks can decompose within 5 months due to the material used. The article “Reusable Face Masks as Alternative for Disposable Medical Masks” states: “Both the outer and inner layers of the mask are made of cotton woven fabric.” (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) Reusable masks can help with less waste in the environment.