The Pandemic Pollution Problem

Day 102 – In the beginning of the pandemic, when the world was on lockdown, it seemed like the environment was getting a reprieve. Less people moving about, meant less pollution. Mountain ranges that were once blanketed by smoggy skies could be seen again. Animals appeared in places that they had not visited in decades, if ever. It seemed like Mother Nature had pressed the pause button, allowing for some much needed rest and rejuvenation for the planet. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to see that the pandemic was going to negatively effect the environment.

There is no debating that the pandemic has taken a toll, physically, emotionally and financially. People have done what they needed to do to stay safe and keep businesses open. Sadly, the environment has not responded well to these changes. The use of face masks, latex gloves, plastic grocery bags, take out containers and many other single use items has increased dramatically.

“The global plastic packaging market size is projected to grow from USD 909.2 billion in 2019 to 1012.6 billion by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate of 5.5%, mainly due to pandemic response.” – Business Insider

Photo credit – The Toronto Star

All these items end up in the trash and eventually to the landfill (or the waterways), where they will exist for decades and centuries to come. It all seems a little too much to comprehend and inconceivable to think about a solution. However, the light can be seen at the end of this dark tunnel. As we slowly emerge from this global pandemic, we all need to realize that not only do people need to heal from the unfathomable loss of loved ones and job security, but the planet also needs help recovering. We need to do our part in the healing process.

A few simple ways you can contribute:

  1. As mentioned yesterday, use a reusable mask. When that is not an option, consider using a recyclable mask.
  2. If wearing latex gloves can be safely avoided by just making sure you wash your hands, make the choice not to wear them. If latex gloves can not be avoided consider recycling them.
  3. Many grocery stores will allow you to use your reusable bags if you bag your own groceries. Ask your local store about their policy.
  4. Avoid using plastic utensils. Keep a reusable set with you for food on the go and do not accept plastic utensils for food that you’ll be bringing home.
  5. Make an extra effort to avoid plastic packaging. Since many have increased their daily plastic waste, it will take the actions of those that can recognize that there is a serious problem to help elevate the situation.

The pandemic has opened our eyes to so many things and given us new perspective. I think we will all come out of this experience even more thankful for our family, friends and all our blessings. But, we also need to appreciate our planet more. She has been through a lot.

Tomorrow, substances you should avoid.

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