Environmental Tip

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COVID Litter is Polluting the Environment and Killing Wildlife (excerpt from an article by Olivia Rosane, Treehugger.com)

What can you do?

Luckily, there are ways that all of us can be part of the solution to the problem of PPE pollution. 

Hiemstra and Rambonnet suggested using reusable PPE instead of single-use products. Kollar, however, acknowledged that for some people, reusable face masks are the best and safest choice. In that case, they should dispose of them properly by snipping the ear loops to prevent animal entanglements and throwing them away in a lidded bin that is not overstuffed. Further, Kollar said, people can cut back on other, less essential single-use plastic items to reduce the overall flow of waste. 

If you still want to do more, you can also download the Clean Swell app and start collecting litter in your neighborhood, documenting what you find as you go.

“Tracking those items and especially the PPE that you find is going to help us to get an idea of this global landscape of the PPE litter and pollution problem,” Kollar said. 

Hiemstra and Rambonnet are also crowdsourcing data collection. The two have started a website called covidlitter.com to gather more observations of animals impacted by PPE.

“If you find any new interactions online or observe them yourself, please share your observation below,” the website reads.

This call for observations from ordinary people is something the two studies have in common. 

“We definitely think citizen scientists are very important to understand how much PPE is ending up in the environment, possibly impacting animals,” Hiemstra and Rambonnet said. 

Here is a link to the full article:https://www.treehugger.com/scientists-document-how-ppe-is-harming-wildlife-5121110

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