In the wake of the global lockdowns caused by COVID-19, pollution has gone down drastically. Many industries went on a standstill, and this gave the universe a sigh of relief. However, it seems like this ‘relief’ won’t last long, as there’s another problem arising – the use of face masks. Even though many are trying to preserve the environment by using a washable face mask, pollution is still a challenge.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, some people still litter. And the use of face masks has made this problem go up. The popular notion that the environment is recovering as people stay at home may be limited. On the contrary, COVID-19 has probably brought about more harm to our universe than good.
Yes, this pandemic has taken a toll on lives, affected livelihoods, and led to the closure of many businesses. However, it is starting to show its negative effects on the environment. At the onset of this deadly virus outbreak, the environment seemed to be the biggest beneficiary. However, if the current stats are anything to go by, then the opposite is turning out to be true. Here’s why:
Arguably, several months back, very few people would have predicted an outbreak of a deadly virus like COVID-19. It took the world by a storm, and many panicked in fear and uncertainty. It has tried and tested our healthcare systems – stretching most to breaking point. Still, we have managed to hold on this far.
Nonetheless, this virus has brought about tons of challenges, including deaths, job losses, company closures, and now pollution. The use of face masks isn’t something new to our health workers. They use them, alongside personal protective equipment, daily in their profession.
To the ordinary person, however, using face masks is a new trait, which many are struggling to cope with. Some don’t have a good idea of how to dispose of masks properly, and this has led to widespread pollution. Perhaps one reason why government authorities and NGOs advise the general public to use a washable face mask. Disposable face masks create the challenge of general education on proper disposal.
Re-emergence of Polluters
If you still believe environmental polluters went out of business, then you might be up for a rude shock. In fact, if anything, they are coming back stronger than before. Different industries, such as airlines, automobiles, plastics, and fossil fuels, will come back stronger.
Some countries, through stimuli packages, are encouraging industries to seek help in a bid to revive the economy. Therefore, most of the industries mentioned above have registered their plea for help – and governments are acceding to their cries. Some of the advantages on the plate include regulatory rollbacks, cash assistance, and other special favors.
Thus, there will be an unlikely end to this current stalemate if potent polluters are making a comeback. Again, the hurting reality remains that some of these industries play a critical role in the economy. Therefore, their closure will not only lead to massive job losses, but also an injury to revenues of affected countries.
What We Can Do to Save the Environment
Coronavirus might have created severe harm to the environment. However, we all have a role to play in reducing the damage. Humanity has gone through different challenges and still managed to overcome. COVID-19 is not different, as we will overcome. The following tips might prove handy in safeguarding what’s left of our beautiful planet:
Using a Washable Face Mask
Instead of the disposable face masks, health authorities advise the general public to use a washable face mask. There are two reasons behind this:
- Helps to reserve the disposable medical or surgical masks for front liners.
- Since you can use a washable face mask severally, the possibility of pollution due to improper disposal reduces.
If at all you must dispose of your mask or any other personal protective equipment, then do it properly. Use strategic bins and follow government protocols on safe disposals.
During these tough times, we need each other to create a safer environment for us, and future generations. Volunteering to causes aimed at collecting waste and removing pollutants is one way of staying true to humanity.
Check on upcoming clean-ups in your community and offer a hand. Your efforts aren’t minimal. They can go a long way in transforming the environment.
Bike More Often
Now that many have returned to working from home, why not choose an environmentally sustainable option for local movement? Try biking during these times. Aside from saving the environment from car pollution, it also improves your health.
We owe the universe a lot. It has hosted us throughout the entirety of life, and there’s always something we can do to make a difference. Using a washable face mask, for instance, is a good start.
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