How contaminated plastic waste from corona virus is polluting the atmosphere
Environmental experts expressed concern about the manner in which Covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is treated indescribably without understanding the health consequences for the general public and contamination of the environment.
A new study by a non-governmental group, African Climate Reporters, showed that the streets of several states were polluted with an arduous amount of discarded facemasks, hand gloves and plastic hand sanitizer tubes.
The experts warned that if such wastes are not properly disposed of particularly hand sanitizers plastic bottles would cause environmental contamination in the short term, as it will increase the burden of waste in society.
In a statement made available to newsmen, a scientific climate scientist, Dr. Piman Hoffman, claims that federal , state and citizens need to create more efforts on how to deal with COVID-19 pollution that affects the atmosphere.
He said that the waste originating from COVID-19 PPE on the streets is the on a regular basis, so that all hands must be on deck to train, train and sensitize the general public.
As a single use Personal Protection Equipment fills our gutters and waterways, coronavirus waste has become a modern source of environmental contamination according to him.
The African Climate Reporters Assistant Director also said the people need to turn a new leaf and dissatisfied the mindset to avoid the spread of pollution in the world.
He added that in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted 89 million surgical masks would be needed each month.
The fear, he notes, is that after a brief carbon crash as a result of the shutdown that meant less people commuting and less manufacturing development, there are fears that the pandemic would draw political resources away from Green Horn problems to tackle desertification to climate change.
In the same vain, Metro Environmental and Knowledge Initiative ‘s National Representative, comrade Jibril Suleiman, harped on public consciousness about the hazards and effects of inadequate disposal of used coronavirus PPE on the environment.
He said the truth is that hundreds of discarded gloves and facemasks are indiscriminately disposed of daily; and most of them are typically deposited into gutters and some in garbage cites. This is yet another huge pollution concern that could threaten the atmosphere in the future, “he said.
In his opinion, now is the time for government to move to ensure a green recovery that promotes recycling, pointing out that most facemasks contain or are made of polypropylene, which is not rapidly breaking down.
“COVID-19 has had a variety of positive environmental effects, curtailing recycling and increasing plastic consumption around the world.
“plastic pollution waste is a major issue. It is estimated that every year, over eight million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans. This plastic does not dissolve, but slowly breaks down into micro-plastic, which enters food chains with catastrophic effect,” he added.
Another issue is that face masks could become a new tool for spread of the novel coronavirus in Nigeria in view of high risks of self and environmental pollution when masks are used and discarded improperly.
Similarly, medical specialist has called for experimental approach for disposing of expired masks and gloves to save the world from the health effects of dumping discarded corona-virus mask waste in open fields or on the ground.
A microbiologist Samson John says there’s a need to increase general consciousness about health effects of tossing discarded mask away on the street by people riding on motorcycles, motor cars and other public meeting sites.
This, he said, “It is really unfortunate that despite being told about the health hazards of dumping waste in open spaces via numerous media channels, particularly in the current scenario of the rapid spread of coronavirus pandemic, discarded masks were seen dumped on the road, while some were seen on the stream and Gutter.
“‘We have to change our practice of throwing garbage on the roads before it can bring us another catastrophe'”
“We must be mindful that Discarded masks are the main possible carriers of coronavirus, thus the need to warn the public about the risks involved with the recycling of Covid 19 face masks.
The expert proposed that there should be a way to make the public aware of cases in which discarded masks and gloves can be turned over to the garbage collector in a responsible manner;
Also, Yusuf idris Amoke, the National Chairman of the National Volunteer Group on Covid 19, emphasized the value of educating the general public as one of the ways to minimize the number of Covid 19 dismissed on the street
he insists that masks and gloves should be technically disposed of to protect the atmosphere
Until removal, the masks and gloves used should be cut-in to bits to discourage children from finding them on the ground.
He urged the public not to throw away expired masks and gloves on the highways, and urged the public not to combine discarded masks and gloves with dry and wet waste.
He calls on the authorities to enforce heavy fines on all those spotted tossing the masks or other bio-waste (gloves, PPEs) in open spaces or in public gatherings.
“We are afraid that the Covid -19 pandemic could further threaten to intensify the worldwide scourge of plastic contamination”
It should be remembered that about 300 million tons of plastic are created globally per year, with more than 8 million annually entering oceans impacting the entire ocean animal environment.
In another creation, African climate reporter comrade Nurudden Bello, who is also a micro-organism expert, explained how to dispose of the Covid 19 face mask discarded in order to avoid the spread of the pandemic
During a talk with a journalist from kaduna, Bello said there are proper ways to dispose of already used face mask, gloves to avoid contamination between garbage collectors and the environment.
Accordingly, he also noted that there are some important items to remember before disposing of the collected waste that include positioning the waste bin for recycling before moving it to the dump centre, thus stressing the awareness of the mode of transportation of the disease.
Nurudden said medical institutions ought to ensure the waste is disposed of in a way that does not pose a health danger nor provides opportunity for the virus to spread.
By burning it, the last alternative is to avoid spread through the area.