They weren’t enough millions of victims, the collapsing hospitals, the economic crisis and the restrictions. The consequences of the pandemic of coronavirus they will also be heavy on the environment. According to a study conducted byUniversity of Nanjing, in China, and from University of California of San Diego, in the United States, from the emergence of the virus last summer are more than 8 million tons of plastic poured into the environment, between masks, gloves and other products related to the management of Covid-19. And of these almost 26 thousand ended up in the oceans.
According to the researchers who signed the study, the pandemic brought with it a drastic increase in plastic consumption, while i lockdown caused a major increase in Online shopping and, consequently, of the use of the packaging. “Unfortunately, the treatment of plastic waste has not kept pace with the increase in demand – it says – The unmanaged waste is then discharged into the environment and some reaches the ocean.” The scholars then add that the amount of plastic escaped from disposal plants fluctuates between 4.4 and 15.1 million tons. Most of the excess plastic (about 87.4%) comes from hospitals, while the personal protective devices used by the population account for 7.6%. Finally, the additional plastic resulting from online shopping contributes 4.7%. The continents that have contributed most to the consumption and non-disposal of plastic materials are theAsia, which alone is worth 46% of the total, followed byEurope (24%) yes North and South America (22%).
The 26 thousand tons of plastic that, according to the researchers’ calculations, end up in the oceans do so along the major rivers in the world. By the end of the year, 71% of this waste will be deposited on beaches, the remainder will be distributed more or less equally among the backdrops and the sea surface with very heavy repercussions on ecosystems and on life in the seas: “There have already been reports of some cases of entrapment and ingestion of Covid-19 waste by marine organisms that have even led to their death,” the researchers write. Among the areas of greatest concern is theArctic which, due to the particular currents, is a impasse for debris transport: “About 80% of the plastic debris dumped in the Arctic Ocean will sink rapidly and it is expected that by 2025 a circumpolar area of plastic accumulation“, Conclude the researchers.