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The Impact of Face Masks and Other Medical Waste to the Oceans

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Coronavirus pandemic has led to the rise in the usage of facemasks plus other medical equipment. The masks are used for some time and then disposed of. Most of these wastes end up being disposed of in the ocean in oceans and seas.

The Research Studies reveal that millions of gloves and masks are being used every day and disposed of carelessly. The waterlogged masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and other coronavirus waste end up being found in oceans. According to research, plastics found in the masks and other medical wastes degrade the marine ecosystem. Water forces cause the plastics to be broken down into small pieces that become dangerous to animal life.The fish species end up consuming the broken-up plastic pieces, and this endangers their life.

This also threatens other beings in the ecosystem. Plastics from these masks soak up and absorb pollutants containing chemicals such as bisphenol A, Ps oligomer, DDT, and polychlorinated biphenyls. These toxins cause liver problems, childhood development issues, hormonal disruption, and immune system problems to marine life.  Plastics also affect human beings because people around the world also depend on seafood as a source of protein.

The medical wastes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have also shown adverse effects on individuals such as cleaners, garbage collectors, and other people who spend their time in public places. Garbage collectors have to spend their time collecting garbage. When not well protected, the garbage collectors may end up getting infections from waste such as meningitis and hepatitis B and C.

Final Word

To prevent adverse impacts of facemasks and other medical wastes, people should be educated. There should be awareness about the importance of proper disposal of these wastes to avoid degrading marine life.