Plastic, the other pandemic

75 percent of the plastic generated during the pandemic will end up in the sea or in garbage dumps, this is the other outbreak that worries the United Nations.

By Rodrigo Caballero
Photography by Carmen J. Cohen

Environment. Morelia.- The excessive use of plastic had a resurgence during the novel coronavirus pandemic. This is another problem that worries the United Nations (UN).

Masks, gloves, face shields and disinfectant bottles are thrown away, as part of the tons of plastic products that humans were forced to use daily to protect themselves from the COVID-19 disease and that keep becoming plastic waste.

The United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) warned about the use of plastics, not only in sanitary measures but also in packaging for food ordered at home or in packages for online shopping.

Through a statement, the conference assured that the exponential increase in the use of plastic will leave an important footprint on environmental pollution and delay plans to generate a less harmful coexistence with these products.

“Plastic pollution was already one of the biggest threats to our planet before the coronavirus. The rapid increase in the daily use of certain products that help protect people and stop the spread of the virus is making things worse,” Pamela Coke-Hamilton, UNCTAD’s director of international trade, explained.

Coke-Hamilton assured that the fight against the excessive use of plastic is a problem that has not attracted the attention it deserves, which complicates the problem since there is little that a company, a country or a person can do individually.

“The way that countries have been using trade policies to combat plastic pollution has been largely uncoordinated, which has limited the effectiveness of efforts,” she said.

According to UN estimates for the year 2050, about 12 billion tons of plastic waste will be found in seas and garbage dumps around the world, however, these predictions were made in 2018, before the pandemic, so Therefore, there are still no figures regarding the long-term impacts of the resurgence of the intensive use of plastics in the world.

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