The new study links a pandemic to more than eight million tons of plastic waste – Earth – Science and Technology

In a year and a half, the humanity produced approximately 8.4 million tons of plastic waste related to the spread of covid-19.

A team of scientists from China and the United States comes up with this estimate in a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). According to the authors, most of the waste is generated by hospitals.

The covid pandemic has led to increased use of disposable plastic items, such as protective equipment for healthcare professionals, but also materials used in the delivery of food or other goods. The new study provides a first concrete estimate of the extent of the resulting waste, as well as insights into the fate of these materials in the world’s oceans, according to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

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The analysis came from the cooperation of this American institution with the University of Nanjing in China. Among other things, the four scientists concluded that about 26,000 tons of plastic waste associated with the pandemic had reached the oceans. The estimated total volume of waste produced covers the period from the beginning of the pandemic to 23 August this year, with the authors of the study indicating a possible deviation of 1.4 million tonnes. According to them, hospitals account for 73 percent of all waste.

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“When we set out on the calculations, we were surprised to find that the amount of medical waste significantly exceeded the amount of waste from individuals and that much of it came from Asian countries, although most covid-19 cases were elsewhere,” said Amina Schartup of the Oceanographic Institute. UCSD. “The biggest sources of additional waste were hospitals in areas that could no longer handle waste before the pandemic,” she added.

The world before the pandemic produced about 300 million tons of disposable plastic items, so the several-ton increase associated with the pandemic would not be dramatic. But it shows an unfavorable trend.


Source: Pravda – Veda a technika by vat.pravda.sk.

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