The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many unresolved problems in the world, including environmental ones. And while the fish return to the canals of Venice, the streets of London and other megacities are littered with garbage.
Sustainable consumption has been recently considered as a personal choice for everyone. Many people could afford to buy products in biodegradable packages (which sometimes cost more than plastic ones) or bring their own reusable containers, use shoppers, refuse plastic tubes and produce as little garbage as possible, including household waste, but only a few do.
Now, when the most part of the world’s countries has introduced quarantine and mandatory self-isolation, the issue of waste utilization has come up in full. We suddenly remembered that a person produces about 8 kilograms of garbage per month – both recyclable and non-recyclable. But in conditions of isolation, this abstract knowledge was clearly confirmed – everything was thrown into one garbage can at home, and was not distributed to several points – at work, in cafes, on the streets. Of course, if those who are quarantined decide to improve their living conditions and make minor repairs, which previously one has no time to do because of being busy, the amount of garbage increases at least twice. But it has to be put somewhere.
Metropolitans of Great Britain today cope with this problem with great difficulty. Despite the fact that citizens responsibly sort garbage into recyclable and non-recyclable, many reception points for plastic and glass containers, as well as waste paper and textiles, are closed for quarantine. Bringing the collected waste to such points and finding them closed, many people, in despair, just leave the bags on the street.
DailyMail reports that the amount of rubbish dumped in this way has tripled, and now West Oxfordshire District Council is urging its residents and local businesses not to dump waste in communal recycling areas.
Officials report that fly numbers have now increased by 300%, and the situation will change for the worse as many key garbage collection points and recycling centers will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Urban ecology depends on many factors and is based on a delicate balance between people and production. In the context of the pandemic, many productions are suspended, and experts advise people also partially to “suspend” the production of garbage.
To do this, it is proposed not to buy semi-finished products, but to replace them with full-fledged products. Now many people have nowhere to hurry and can spend time on cooking.
Environmentalists also advise to go to markets with own containers – light fabric bags for weighing vegetables and fruits and a large shopper to carry everything you bought home. By the way, they also advise to refuse buying products in small containers – 0.5 liters of bottled water, small bags or containers with nuts, etc.
These are fairly simple steps that, however, by estimates, can reduce the amount of garbage by 30%, which is quite a lot. Even in countries where COVID-19 infection has not penetrated, this will help to reduce the burden on public services.
As many people say now, the world will not be the same after the coronavirus. The pandemic has forced humanity to rethink habits and change views on many things. And sustainable consumption and restriction of waste production can be an important step towards stabilizing the ecological situation on the planet.