How Coronavirus Pandemic Is Building Up A Global Waste Problem

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The coronavirus pandemic appears to be building up a global waste problem for mankind. And if this problem continues, the world could face more long-term consequences.

WebMD recently reported how reusable bags at grocery stores have declined since more people are now relying on single-use plastic bags as a means to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Many grocery stores have reportedly switched back to using disposable bags since the outbreak started. They have also prohibited customers from bring reusable bags to prevent any possible transmission.

As a result, apart from the anxiety, social distancing and financial problems that the pandemic brought along with it, humans are now slowly contributing to a sudden rise in the piles of trash and waste being produced as a result of precautionary measures.

Medical Daily previously reported that politicians in certain places have decided to temporarily ban reusable grocery bags to lower the risk of spreading the deadly virus among people. Among them was Gov. JB Pritzker, who enforced the ban in Illinois.

Interestingly, it’s not just the disposable bags that are causing the new global waste problem. The disposable masks and gloves that many people wear when businesses reopened also contribute to the issue. Furthermore, restaurants have been providing their clients with single-use menus.

It is also worth noting that healthcare professionals have been using a lot of disposable masks and gloves ever since the pandemic began. The World Health Organization (WHO) even said in early March that about 89 million masks, 76 million exam gloves and 1.6 million goggles are needed every month.

Surprisingly, it is not the hospitals that have been the biggest source of the overall waste problem. Experts said that the main increase in waste and trash could be traced back to the households since more people take necessary precautions while living their day-to-day life during the pandemic.

“For restaurant, retail and offices, the numbers are down [but] residential waste is up about 30 percent,” Anne Germain, the chief operating officer and senior vice president of regulatory affairs for the National Waste and Recycling Association, said.

Unhealthy Grocery Store FoodsGrocery stores are selling high amounts of unhealthy, highly processed foods. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock