When lockdowns were imposed all around the world due to the COVID19 pandemic in March, forcing people to stay indoors, we were glorifying how animals were free to roam all around and how nature was thriving without human interventions. However, the situation is different now since the very pandemic has become the central cause for an increase in environmental pollution.
A main COVID19 preventive method recommended by all health organizations is face masks. They are also a part of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) used on a daily basis by healthcare personnel. These PPE also includes latex gloves. Since March, the use of face masks and latex gloves has multiplied million fold with everyone from everywhere starting to use a mask per day, in addition to healthcare personnel. And that number is like millions per day. At the same rate and number people have been buying and using face masks and latex gloves, these non biodegradable items are also being discarded to the environment after use.
And now, we have another problem, in addition to COVID19: we have an avalanche of discarded PPE items that pollute the environment. They have become wildlife killers as several incidents are being reported on a daily basis.
One instance as reported in the UK was a seagull in Chelmsford being entangled by a facemask.
It is obvious that people having too much to deal with the ongoing pandemic, they seem to have forgotten or become blind to the impact that they are making on nature with this behavior without finding a solution to the proper disposal of PPE items.
As one person tweeted:
“4th tweet I’ve seen re birds with masks wrapped around their legs – others about how many are ending up in the oceans and countryside. They are going to cause so much damage and loss of life – do humans never learn? We are the most intelligent and yet the most stupid species.”