The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how pivotal a role plastic plays in our lives and healthcare systems. Surgical masks, gloves, ventilators and protective equipment all require plastic. Environmental campaigners are worried about what the plastic future looks like after the pandemic.

Nick Mallos of Ocean Conservancy told CNN, “We know that plastic pollution is a global problem — it existed before the pandemic. (But) we’ve seen a lot of industry efforts to roll back some of the great progress that’s been made. We need to be quite cautious about where we go, post-pandemic.” Regulations around plastic have slowed or stopped during coronavirus and the world is suddenly faced with an excess of gloves and masks.

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As countries and states order citizens to wear masks in public, environmental advocates are worried about proper disposal and the plethora of plastics.”Right outside my house there are discarded gloves and masks all over the neighborhood. It’s been raining here for two days, so these are very quickly washed down into the sewer. Here in Washington DC, they end up in the Anacostia River, out in the Chesapeake Bay, and then the Atlantic Ocean,” said John Hocevar, the oceans campaign director at Greenpeace USA.

Campaigners hope that setbacks will be temporary and that the plastics industry will stop using the pandemic as a way to push plastics. 

Mallos said, “First and foremost, this is a time of public health and safety being the main priority. But we also have to realize that the broader waste issue that is being highlighted by this pandemic really matters.”

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

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Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

This is a good time to reconsider our intake of animal products to stay healthy. Eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.

Interested in joining the dairy-free and meatless train? We highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Catch up on our latest coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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