Plastic waste booming from coronavirus in Turkey, warns academic
TEKİRDAĞ – Demirören News Agency
An academic has warned against the growing plastic waste crisis in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as demand for personal protective equipment, including face masks and gloves, has skyrocketed, but people are disposing them recklessly, posing a huge threat to the environment as the world grapples with one of the worst health crises in history.
“The streets are now full of face masks, gloves and infected waste. We are facing a big threat as the nature was renewing itself,” said Lokman Hakan Tecer, the dean of the Engineering Faculty at Namık Kemal University in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ.
Mask-wearing was made mandatory in 49 provinces, of 81, in Turkey after it began the normalization phase on June 1.
The dean urged members of the public keep the streets clean, while stressing on the importance of hygiene.
“Hygiene should not be considered just as using hand disinfectant. But look at the streets, they are full of infected materials. Apart from waste bins, we need special containers on every street to put these in.”
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people perform their daily activities, with plastic bags being used widely again. Cafes and restaurants have begun serving food on plastic dishes and plastic cutlery.
Tecer also touched upon another looming danger: Chemical pollution. Local authorities have used chemical disinfectants while cleaning streets and public spaces, will people widely use bleach to kill off viruses on surfaces in their houses.
“We use disinfectants which are chemical. Sooner or later, these chemical substances get added to wastewater. Then the wastewater spills into rivers or seas. We will eventually have a chemical pollution. The municipalities should deal with the cleansing of wastewater very carefully,” he said.
The academic also stressed that people were preferring to live in rural and remote places, migrating from city centers to escape the possibility of contracting the coronavirus.
“Elderly people have especially moved to resorts or villages. But we have to be careful. If we all leave cities and fill those rural spaces, then we may not have enough space for social distancing there,” added Tecer.