Waste ended up in the oceans.
Less than 2 years after Covid-19 started, more than 26,000 tons of plastic waste related to the pandemic, such as masks and gloves, have ended up in the ocean.
And within a few years, some of those plastic gloves and shipping supplies from pandemic purchases could be swarming the North Pole in the case of the northern hemisphere.
193 countries produced around 9.2 million tons of plastic waste associated with the pandemic since the beginning of the pandemic Most of it is hospital waste
Of the mass of waste that has ended up in the sea, around 87.4% was used by hospitals and 7.6% was used by individuals. Packaging and test kits accounted for about 4.7% and 0.3% of the waste, respectively.
Poorly managed plastic waste, consisting of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, far exceeds the ability of countries to process it properly.
Last March the first case of a fish trapped in a medical glove was discovered, found during the cleaning of a canal in Leiden (the Netherlands).
In Brazil, a PFF-2 protective mask was found in the stomach of a dead Magellanic penguin.
By the end of the century, almost all the plastics associated with the pandemic will end up on the seabed or on the beaches.
The waste reached the sea transported by 296 major rivers
46% of badly managed plastic waste came from Asia, followed by Europe, with 24%, and North and South America, with 22%.
The thousands of tons of masks, gloves, test kits and face shields that leaked into the oceans were transported in 369 rivers. The main ones were the Shatt al-Arab in Iraq, which carried 5,200 tons of waste into the ocean; the Indus River, in Tibet 4,000 tons; the Yangtze River, in China, 3,700 tons; in Europe the Danube 1,700 tons.