The key to preventing coronavirus waste threatening the oceans may be to discourage the use of disposable masks and other single-use PPE.
It’s not news that our trash eventually finds its way to the ocean. Because oceans are downstream, litter will eventually find a pathway into our bodies of water if it’s not discarded properly—and often even if it is. But as the COVID-19 crisis slowly generates a new kind of waste, made up of disposable masks and other PPE items, it’s posing new problems for the Earth’s oceans. The flood of PPE could cause immediate danger to wildlife, and long-term plastic pollution that threatens to contaminate food supplies.
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