We may see the day when there’s more plastic than fish in the sea three times faster thanks to coronavirus.
Global consumption of single-use plastics has risen between 250% and 300% since coronavirus hit, estimates the International Solid Waste Association.
Germaphobia has pushed concern about plastic pollution to the back-burner, as former environmentalists gear up in plastic masks, gloves and plastic-covered plasticware.
Former campaigns to reduce plastic pollution seem to have fallen by the wayside, as fear of germs takes center stage.
Not only are we gobbling up plastic facemasks and gloves like they’re going out of style, we’re wrapping pretty much everything we touch in plastic, to give us the illusion that we haven’t touched it.
Most restaurants are now packaging all their food in takeout containers, even if you’re dining in. Plastic “silver”ware is no longer sufficient, it now needs to be wrapped in a plastic film as well. Forget drinking water out of a glass, it only comes in plastic bottles at some restaurants now. Drinking fountains are also off limits.
Even if you do all your own cooking, it’s still hard to avoid consuming far more plastic than in the olden days. If you’re one that avoids grocery stores, your food likely comes delivered in copious amounts of plastic… And if you’re one who braves them, you’re now looked down upon for bringing your own “hazardous” reusable bags and asked to bag them yourself.
In addition to wrapping all the credit card machines in plastic, large plastic windows now protect us from any breath that may seep through the checkout lady’s mask.
Lockdowns have also led to a boom in online shopping, and when you buy goods online, they typically come bubble-wrapped or Styrofoam-packed in non-recyclable plastic.
In March, as much of America and Europe shut up shop, an estimated 2.5 billion customers visited Amazon’s website, a 65% increase over last year, according to The Economist.
Even condom sales are up, both as a protective measure against germs and a potential lockdown-baby boom. Unfortunately, condoms are also not recyclable.
Before CoVid-19, scientists predicted there would be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 – 30 years from now. If the coronavirus-plastic-protection mania continues, we could potentially hit that benchmark in 10.