The future is a place we all look forward to being part of, where most of our social and economic ills will be addressed and properly managed. A place where our children will experience the beauty of nature and make great use of the abundant resources bequeathed to them by the past civilisation. Can we utter the latter with full confidence and consider ourselves as the responsible majority, who is passing a worthy inheritance to the next generation? Most, would answer that question with a resounding “YES!”. However, recent outbreaks have made everyone afraid of what the future holds. Every time technology has become more accessible and advance, new treats came to the forefront. Technological advancements have come with great convenience and more expedient ways of doing things but one might argue that it is all not worth the danger we found ourselves in. If it’s not the lingering climate change issues, then it’s biochemical warfare which needs immediate curbing and abolishment. Mankind’s improving intellect has also been his demise.
As of recent, there has been outbreaks after outbreaks. Diseases are all over the place, most of them are manmade and should not even exist to begin with. COVID-19 has disrupted almost all significant supply chains which we consider critical for our existence. Medically, some of us have survived all its waves, but at what cost. We’ve taken protective measures throughout the whole fiasco. From vaccines to actual protective gear, we’ve fought the good fight like the strong species that we are. For the most part, we have pulled through but unfortunately damaged the environment thoroughly in the process. The battleground always loses at the end, despite who the victors are.
The vigorous distribution of Personal Protective Equipment has been a vital way of curbing and decimating the spread of COVID-19, but that has come with critical environmental grievances – since most of the gear was made of plastic.
To raise awareness of this problem, and how to tackle it, “SafeTec” has created a comprehensive guide which first informs you of the severity that single-use plastic PPE has heaped in our planet, and possible workarounds:
This part of the blog was written using SafeTec resources.
1. In the UK, 784 million PPE items were used in hospitals in just a 53-day period at the start of the pandemic. This equated to 14 million pieces of equipment being thrown away daily.
2. If every person wears a single-use face mask every day for a year, as much as 66,000 tonnes of unrecyclable plastic waste could be thrown away. This would cause damage to marine ecosystems, as well as pollution of natural resources.
3. The sudden need for single-use PPE, bubble wrap for the transportation of online shopping and numerous other COVID-related factors have directly resulted in a surge in plastic production. Most of this plastic is “new plastic”, rather than recycled plastic – new plastic is far more damaging to the environment but 83-93% cheaper to produce.
How to dispose PPE responsibly:
• Collect used PPE from medical centres and hospitals.
• Quarantine the PPE for four days to allow any virus particles to die.
• The PPE is ground down into small pieces and exposed to ultraviolet light to guarantee no contamination.
• The pieces are mixed with a binding agent.
• The result can be moulded into any shape to be used again.
Understandably, for companies that are all about the bottom-line, you see why the option for the usage of new plastic is alluring. New plastic means bigger profit margins. However, that also means the plant’s death is a profitable business model. This, then, is no longer a question of environmental morality and awareness but rather one of survival. Simply because continuing in this fashion assures destruction of biblical proportions to generations yet come. The change in our climate is a precursor for something more drastic, if left unattended. Company executives will have all the money in the world but their children’s children won’t be able to enjoy the fruits of their labour, because of the inhabitable planet they would have passed to them whilst pursuing these ridiculous profit margins.
To read more on the responsible ways of disposing or recycling Personal Protective Equipment visit: SafeTec.
Let’s leave this planet in a better condition than we found it. We know better, so let us also do better.