Virus Covid-19 is still roaming our planet and has left behind a wide amount of disposable items like masks, medical equipment, cups, and containers for take-out food. The ocean is estimated to be home to more masks than fish due to improper recycling processes.
The fact that human beings dispose of more items than ocean creatures is perceived as a fact
Approximately millions of gloves and masks are being used then discarded every day since the initial surge of Covid-19 in 2020, and this number is only available for UK healthcare settings. Laurent Lombard, a member of Operation Mer Propre, complained, “There would be more masks in the ocean than jellyfish” after receiving pictures of the disposable waste.
COVID-19 has added to the general environmental problem
8 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the ocean every year, so the problem of dumping plastic waste into landfills and oceans already exists. According to a study, single-use face masks would result in an additional 66,000 tonnes of contaminated waste and 57,000 tonnes of plastic packaging in the UK alone.
Covid-19 has now been acknowledged as a cause of ecosystem destruction by leaders and politicians around the world.
The UK Minister of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, Zac Goldsmith, expressed that maritime nations know better than anyone how our ocean economies rely on ocean health in a World Economic Forum webinar on ensuring a green recovery. To recover the ocean, we need to tackle plastic pollution, improve ocean health, reduce climate change, promote biodiversity, and create sustainable livelihoods. (Edmond, 2020)
The rise of single-use plastics in food delivery
Covid comes as the global F&B industry entirely shifts their business into takeout and delivery only.
According to John Hocevar, the ocean campaign director at Greenpeace, “The plastic industry used the pandemic as an opportunity to try and convince the public that single-use plastic is safer than reusable plastic.”
Some suggestions are outlined to reduce the volume of disposable wastes, such as asking customers to opt in if they want plastic utensils with pickup or delivery, without putting an uncontrollable amount of plastic utensils. (Newburger & Lucas, 2020)
The Vaccine Jab Chandelier
Public health nurse Laura Weiss made a beautiful chandelier by upcycling empty Moderna vaccine vials as a tribute to healthcare workers. Weiss revealed that she was a retired nurse in Boulder, Colorado; but when the county health department declared a call for help in vaccinating eligible residents against Covid-19, she stepped forward.During the past seven months, Weiss and her colleagues have immunized hundreds of thousands of people; therefore, Weiss came up with an idea to honor their efforts. Weiss created a four-foot-tall chandelier made from hundreds of vaccine vials and named it the ‘Light of Appreciation’.
She explains that it all started because it was hard to express gratitude to the people she worked with and the community effort it took to get so many people the vaccine.
Weiss, who is also worried about these Moderna vials, will lose her beauty if they go to waste. With the help of 271 glass vials of Moderna and 10 vials from Johnson & Johnson, this achievement was accomplished beautifully. Considering a public permanent house for her Light of Appreciation, Weiss is seeking to fulfill her last wish. “Somewhere people can come and see it and pause”, Weiss said. (Romo, 2021)
Since the world is trying to combat disease with vaccinations, environmental problems shouldn’t be ignored, as humans may perceive resource shortages without protection. However, there is a certain degree of positivity in Weiss’ example of appreciation and an artwork of upcycling.