Anne Jefferson joins NPR panel to discuss pandemic related trash concerns

The Sound of Ideas - WCPN Ideastream Public Media

The amount of pandemic related trash we're producing is raising new concerns

Face masks littering a rocky beach [shutterstock]

Two years ago, as we began to deal with the novel coronavirus, there appeared to be one slight silver lining to the pandemic.

Lockdowns, social distancing, and our fear of travel all led to fewer carbon emissions, and fewer resources being consumed around the globe.

One example was automobile use in the United States. It declined by 40% in the first half of 2020. Industrial emissions in China, which is the world's biggest source of carbon, were down 18% during that same time.

Environmentalists praised the effects this had on air quality across the globe; suddenly the smog-filled skies of India were no more.

Wildlife advocates were also joyous at how the global slow down benefitted conservation efforts.

But the good news on the environmental front was short-lived.

Factories resumed operations, and people resumed travelling. Since that initial lockdown, there's been a new environmental wrinkle including the discarding of protective gear that have become instrumental in protecting us against COVID-19.

Dirty masks and discarded latex gloves now litter sidewalks, float in waterways, and pepper landfills....

Listen to the rest of The Sound of Ideas broadcast 

POSTED: Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 11:13am
UPDATED: Friday, July 1, 2022 - 9:48am
WCPN Ideastream Public Media