There is no denying that single-use plastic has been a lifesaver in the fight against COVID-19, especially for frontline health workers. It has also facilitated adherence to social-distancing rules, by enabling home delivery of basic goods, especially food. And it may have helped to curb transmission, by replacing reusable coffee cups and shopping bags in many cities over fears that the virus could stick to them.
But widely circulated images of plastic sacks of medical waste piling up outside hospitals, and used personal protective equipment floating in coastal waters and washing up on the world’s beaches, illustrate yet again the dark side of single-use plastics.
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