IS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC INCREASING THE MICROPLASTIC LOAD IN OUR ENVIRONMENT?HARITHA T. NAIR AND P. SIDDHURAJU
The whole world is fighting against the pandemic and is using all its sources to prevent the spreading of corona virus. As a result, the production and usage of face masks and gloves has hiked tremendously thereby producing a huge amount of plastic waste also. Since these are made of single use plastics for safety concerns, they are increasing the load of plastic waste in the environment. These will degrade with time in the environment to release microplastics (MPs). Once released to the environment it is a very strenuous task to get rid of these plastic pollutants. Hand washes are identified as a source of MPs earlier. But now it is gaining more importance because hand washing is an important way to fight against the pandemic. Proper awareness about the impact of this pandemic on the environment should be given to the general public through more researches and studies. Also, the use of cloth face masks should be promoted among the public to reduce the dumping of plastic wastes.