As the global population swells, significantly more waste is generated, putting a strain on the planet as well as future generations of humanity. Waste disposal is proving especially challenging amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Take a walk down a city street during the pandemic and you are likely to find at lest a couple discarded masks and gloves. Sadly, personal protective equipment is not being properly disposed of during the coronavirus outbreak. Furthermore, there is a chance other waste items from dentist sale practices, doctors’ offices and other facilities will transmit the virus when improperly discarded.
Why Waste Disposal is Such a Problem
Though society-wide consumption has decreased amidst the pandemic, people are eating at home during the coronavirus lockdown, creating an abundance of waste, some of which ends up on the street as opposed to inside trash cans. Sadly, some recycling services and waste facilities have shut down during the pandemic. This means there are fewer places for waste to go. Even the waste processing facilities that have remained open are not operating as efficiently as they should. Staff members who work at waste processing facilities are not immune to the virus. Some of these workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and are unable to work.
Aside from the reduction in operational efficiency at waste processing facilities, there is also the problem of a spike in household waste. People are hoarding food, cleaning out the house, engaging in DIY projects and other activities in the home that generate waste. Furthermore, home deliveries are on the rise, resulting in seemingly ubiquitous cardboard packaging. This means there is that much more waste to process from homes.
Though the amount of waste generated at businesses and restaurants has declined, the uptick in waste from homes has offset this decrease, leading to random pieces of garbage and personal protective equipment scattered about streets in the cities as well as the suburbs.
Waste Processors are Worried About Contracting the Virus
The seemingly simple act of picking up the garbage has become inherently hazardous now that the coronavirus outbreak is washing through the United States and beyond. Though those who work at waste processing facilities are using personal protective equipment to guard against contracting the coronavirus, there is still a chance of exposure to the virus simply because of the proximity to discarded items. Some of those items undoubtedly have the virus lurking on their surface.
As a result, gathering and processing garbage has become an inherently hazardous job. Furthermore, the abundance of garbage from homes across the land has resulted in overflowing garbage cans, dumpsters and other waste containers, leading to virus-laden waste items scattered along streets and lawns.
Tips for Waste Disposal During the Pandemic
All garbage items should be put in bags and closely tied or wrapped shut to prevent waste from spilling outward onto the street and elsewhere. It is also prudent to wear gloves when bringing trash cans back to the house as they have been handled by waste removal workers. If you spot personal protective equipment or other garbage on the road, do not pick it up unless you are wearing protective gloves and can place the wayward item in a trash receptacle. After all, you never know if the piece of garbage you find on the road is carrying the virus.