As of August, the epidemic had produced 8.4 million tons of plastic waste in 193 countries. This is according to researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in the “Processes” of the American National Academy of Sciences (“PNAS”). By comparison: According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), mankind produces about 300 million tons of plastic waste a year.
A team led by scientists Yiming Peng and Peipei Wu now estimates that the vast majority of corona waste (about 87.4 percent) appears in hospitals, especially in Asian countries. According to a study released by researchers on Monday, 7.6 percent are caused by masks and other protective equipment for private use. Packaging for growing online commerce accounts for 4.7 percent of additional waste.
“Plastic waste is harmful to marine life and has become a major global environmental problem.” Corona infection has led to an increase in the demand for disposable plastics, which increase the pressure on “this problem that is already out of control,” the researchers write.
More than 25,000 tons of corona debris have already joined the oceans in this way. This reflects a long-standing problem for the marine environment. Within three to four years, most of this waste will sink to the shores or under the sea. Researchers have called for better management of medical waste, especially in developing countries.