ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER FROM ABANDONED CORONAVIRUS FACE-MASKS IN BANGLADESH: LIVE AND LET LIVEARIF MAHMUD
The new normus to fight the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is to keep social distancing, washing hands regularly, and wearing face masks in public places. Like other countries, the single used surgical face mask is used as primary personal protective equipment (PPE) by the Bangladeshi people to control the spread. In Bangladesh, the number of monthly harvested masks waste was 1592 tonnes during 2020 and the total quantity of waste was estimated at 14500 tonnes. As there exists no effective policy or regulation in Bangladesh for the management of waste, the huge disposal of surgical masks is going to damage the environment on a larger scale. Microplastics (MPs) of the surgical face masks are causing environmental pollution and imposing a great threat to human health as well as the aquatic environment. With increasing reports on inappropriate disposal of masks, it is urgent to recognize this potential environmental threat and prevent it from becoming the next plastic problem. The primary aim of this paper is to find the root cause of the pollution and to measure the extent of it by assessing the effect of the pollution on the environment. The last part of the paper has emphasized the loopholes in the existing legal frameworks and has provided some socio-legal recommendations to mitigate pollution.