Nearly 26,000 tonnes of pandemic-related plastic waste pollutes the ocean: research

Studies have shown that approximately 25,900 tonnes of pandemic-related plastics currently pollute the ocean, most of which are due to hospital and medical waste.

NS studyFrom the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was published in the online journal PNAS on Monday, to August 23, this year, about 8.4 million tons of plastic waste was generated from 193 countries, and about 25.9 thousand tons were global oceans.

The amount of plastic waste far exceeds the country’s ability to process it, researchers said, and the pandemic led to an increase in demand for disposable plastics, “an already uncontrollable global plastic waste problem. We are increasing the pressure on us. ” “

“The released plastic can be transported over long distances in the ocean, encounter marine wildlife, and lead to injury and death,” the researchers say.

According to this survey, hospital waste accounts for 73% of the world’s emissions, and most of the world’s emissions come from Asia, accounting for 72%.

This “calls for better management of medical waste in developing countries,” the study states.

“Most of the plastic comes from hospital-generated medical waste that reduces the contribution from personal protective equipment and packaging materials for online shopping,” they write. “This causes long-term problems in the marine environment and accumulates primarily in beach and coastal sediments.”

“The released plastic can travel long distances over the ocean, encounter marine wildlife, and lead to injury and death,” the researchers added.

According to the survey, the top three rivers with pandemic-related plastic waste emissions are 5,200 tonnes in Shut Al Arab in southeastern Iraq, 4,000 tonnes in the rising Indus River in western Tibet, and 3,700 tonnes in the Yangtze River. ..

“These findings highlight rivers and watersheds in hotspots that require special attention to plastic waste management,” the researchers wrote.

Researchers concluded the study by pointing out the need to raise public awareness of the environmental impact of PPE and other plastic products worldwide.

“To improve the collection, classification, treatment and recycling of plastic waste and to develop more environmentally friendly materials, we need to drive innovative technologies,” they added. “There is a need for better management of medical waste in epicenters, especially in developing countries.”

According to an assessment released last month by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Plastic pollution in the oceans and other waters could double by 2030.

Isabelle van Brugen

Isabelle van Brugen



Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter for The Epoch Times. She holds a master’s degree in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.