Plastic waste increased due to coronavirus. PTI (Indicative photo)
Coronavirus has created all kinds of problems globally. One of these is plastic waste. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic waste has increased worldwide. Out of this, more than 25 thousand tons of plastic waste has gone into the oceans. This shocking thing has come to the fore in a study.
A research published in the journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ found that a significant portion of ocean plastic debris is expected to arrive on beaches via waves within three to four years. A small portion of the debris will go into the open ocean which will eventually become trapped in the centers of the ocean basin. Because of this, a lot of garbage can accumulate in the Arctic Ocean.
Masks, gloves and face shields increased the garbage
The researchers noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for single-use plastics such as face masks, gloves and face shields. As a result, some part of the waste generated has gone into rivers and oceans, adding to the pressure on the already out of control global plastic problem. The team, led by researchers from Nanjing University in China and the University of California (UC) in San Diego, US, used a newly developed ocean plastic numerical model to measure the pandemic’s impact on plastics released from land sources.
Most garbage from Asia
The researchers included data from the start of the epidemic in 2020 to August 2021. It found that most of the global plastic waste that goes into the ocean is coming from Asia. Most of it is hospital waste. The study stresses the need for better management of medical waste in developing countries. Co-author Amina Shortup, assistant professor at UC San Diego, said: ‘When we started the calculations, we were surprised to find that the amount of medical waste was much higher than the amount of personal waste from individuals, and that much of it came from Asian countries. was coming. The biggest source of excess waste has been hospitals in areas that were already struggling with waste management problems before the pandemic.
This is how the model works
Professor Yanxu Zhang at Nanjing University who was involved in the study said the Nanjing University MITGCM-Plastic Model (NJU-MP) used in the study “acts like a virtual reality”. The model simulates how ocean waves move under the influence of wind, and how plastic floats on the ocean’s surface, decayed by sunlight, is contaminated by plankton, and returns to beaches. and drowns in deep water.
74% plastic from Asian rivers
Asian rivers account for 73 percent of all plastic, with the top three contributors being the Shat al-Arab, the Indus and the Yangtze rivers, which drain into the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the East China Sea. Researchers said 11 percent of plastic waste from European rivers enters the oceans, with minor contributions from other continents. (Language)
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