Health & Fit Resurgence of single-use plastics has environmentalists worried

17:51  01 august  2020
17:51  01 august  2020 Source:   msn.com

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The proliferation of single - use plastic around the world is accelerating climate change and should be urgently halted, a report warns. “It has become an inescapable part of the material world, flowing constantly through the human experience in everything from plastic bottles, bags, food packaging

In Europe and the US, the plastic industry has used the threat of coronavirus contamination to push back against bans on single - use plastics . In eight years, US environmentalist and social media star Lauren Singer had never sent an item of rubbish to landfill.

The resurgence of single-use plastics during the coronavirus pandemic — N95 masks, plastic gloves and plastic shopping bags that were once banned in several cities and states but have returned out of necessity — has environmentalists worried about future effects.


Many of those items are now beginning to show up in fields, lakes, rivers and oceans around the world, and they're adding to the roughly 300 million tons of plastic waste the United Nations says is produced every year.

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Nations have agreed to "significantly" curb items such as plastic bags and straws by 2030. Environmentalist groups warn the measures Although Friday's agreement marks the first global commitment to curb plastics , environmentalist groups say the pledges do not go far enough to

Single - use masks, gloves and bottles of sanitizer shielding us from the spread of Environmentalists such as Stokes fear discarded masks and gloves will add to the ongoing fight against plastic pollution in the sea. Plastic waste on the rise. But it's not all good news. One of the worst environmental

"99% of plastics is made from fossil fuels, and we know that they are a major contributor to climate change," Natalie Fie, head of City to Sea, a British nonprofit dedicated to campaigning against pollution, told CBS News' Roxana Saberi.

Fie and her group are promoting ways to avoid single-use plastics during the pandemic.

Aside from PPE and plastic bags, the rise of single-use plastics can be seen in the increase of delivery packages wrapped in plastic, as well as coffee shops such as Starbucks temporarily pausing service for reusable cups over safety concerns.

At the same time, the plastics industry is lobbying for more rollbacks to single-use plastic bans, arguing that single-use plastic is the safest material to protect people from COVID-19.

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This new normal means mountains of single - use plastic —and few places to put it but the dump. And so an industry already in tumult has run headlong into the coronavirus pandemic. Now single - use plastics are more popular than ever as people panic-buy disposable items like water bottles, plus

Single - use plastics : A roadmap for sustainability. 05 June 2018. This paper sets out the latest thinking on how we can achieve this. It looks at what governments, businesses and individuals have achieved at national and sub-national levels to curb the consumption of single - use plastics .

Plastics Industry Organization CEO Tony Radoszewski has called on the U.S. Department of Health to "speak out against bans on these products as a public safety risk."

Fie said science disputes that claim.

"We've found and read from scientists and epidemiologists that actually it's not been proven to be any safer than reusable is," she said.

The World Health Organization also stated the coronavirus can survive on plastic for up to three days.

For people like Emily Stevenson, who has spent over a decade cleaning up trash on the shores of South West England, the toll the coronavirus pandemic is taking on the environment is already present.

"I think we're definitely finding more plastic bottles. And well, more plastics in general," Stevenson said.

Sh found 171 single-use plastic gloves littered the area around just one local supermarket.

While Stevenson said she is hopeful about the fight against plastics in the future, she warned that the PPE she finds littered on the shore could have unforeseen consequences.

"Quite often they'll get saturated when it's in the marine environment, so the gloves will get filled with water, or the face masks just get so sodden that they will just sink to the bottom," she said. "And once the plastic and this debis is on the seafloor, there's no telling how long it's going to stay there for."

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