.Significance of the Plastics, in our lives, shall not be ignored
With versatile, affordable, and ubiquitous products, the Plastic
forming the core foundation of most medical and safety equipment keeping our medical systems running.
Plastics is also an essential component of packaging – especially food packaging. During a pandemic like the one we’re facing, avoiding plastics has become very difficult.
This presented a dilemma – does the plastics stand up to protection or pollution?
While plastics may be critical to the safety of frontline workers, it destroys the environment and has serious repercussions on the
Health requirements imposed by the pandem
Due to strict health requirements, the pandemic imposed a preferenc for single-use plastics materials. However, most countries have succeeded in suspending the ban on the single-use of plastics products, such as packaging materials, food preservation tools, packaging and medical supplies, remarkably in India, Britain and others. Such a policy retreat, is seen as a response to the health challenges posed by the pandemic to alleviate human suffering. Where materials manufactured from petrochemicals play a crucial role in limiting the spread of the emerging Covid-19 epidemic, by relying on sterilization products and personal protective products made of plastics products.
For example, among the preventive measures that show the role of plastic products during the pandemic, the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control requested governments, in all European countries to use face masks, against the pandemic as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the virus and thus maintain the public health and hygiene.
Rebound in demand for petrochemicals, plastic industries
Unlike other industries, which have suffered shutdowns amid the current pandemic, the plastics industry has not shut down.
Rather, it rebounded, driven by the steady global demand for its products, which are at the frontline of defense to limit the spread of the virus and thus contribute to efforts to save lives.
During the pandemic, we saw many factory owners shift towards manufacturing personal protective equipment, medical supplies or single-use plastic packaging, by changing their production lines to achieve economic gains, as a result of the high demand for such commodities.
The petrochemical and plastic industries, too, received a boost from the recent announcement by many governments and city-states or territories mainly in North America and the European Union member states.
The goal is to delay or even reverse the plastic ban plans, especially lifting the ban on single-use plastic items such as shopping bags, single-use cutlery and polystyrene food containers as a precaution to reduce the risk of spreading the virus among people.
Why the Plastics
The world has experienced in the past two years many challenges imposed by the pandemic, and the it is still suffering today from the emerging of the Covid-19 epidemic mutating variants.
To keep hospitals running and protect frontline workers to deal with the effects of the pandemic, the Plastics manufactures, hygiene and personal protection materials, are still the cornerstone of combating the spread of the virus and alleviating human suffering. Thermoplastic components needed for respiratory valves, plastic face shields for medical staff, masks, gloves, and disposable bags, are among the essentials. Fear of contamination from reusing packaging and the need to operate with a new business model that encourages job cuts, with strict social distancing laws, have prompted business owners to rely heavily on reusable packaging, ranging from bags to single-use coffee cups.
For example, under current circumstances, restaurants are obligated to operate a takeout model, which leads to increased demand for plastic containers and Styrofoam.
Just before the start of the pandemic, plastics was seen as an environmental hazard – and now it’s seen as an essential ingredient in keeping millions of people alive, in the post-coronavirus era.
An additional consequence of the epidemic is the abolition of the single-use plastic ban in many countries, which has resulted in a demand for bottled water, personal protective equipment, and single-use plastic bags.
Several governments that have tightened and banned single-use plastics have realized the importance of reshaping the way they think about plastic pollution, by making choices that lead to a cleaner and more sustainable future.
Some sustainable practices for responsibly handling plastic during a pandemic include:
Use reusable shopping bags and call on local governments to reconsider lifting restrictions on single-use plastics.
Responsibly get rid of disposable products, such as masks and gloves, through official waste collection systems, rather than throwing them away or leaving them in public places.
Adopt and help spread the concept of the circular economy of plastic and set off strategies for plastic waste and recycling, which keep plastic waste out of waterways and protects the environment, through the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle.