PPE pollution

We’ve all been very happy with the decreased soot and dust in the air and the lower level of noise pollution. The anxiety of having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic makes these positive changes great things to hold on to. Unfortunately, as life starts again, this will go back to normal. The immense economic disruption that the whole world has gone through will mean that little money will be left to improve soot emissions in the short term. And then there is one invisible bit of pollution which will spread even more. That is the disposable PPE. Already, for several years now, pollution from single use plastics was a major concern. Now we will begin to add more to it. Airports are producing a lot of this every day as air travel has opened up again; market places are full of it too. The Family took a photo of her hairdresser in a disposable kit. This is an indicator that there will be wider use of such things as the economy opens up again.

Fortunately, some people have taken notice. There is a very timely paper from a team of chemists in Dehra Dun who test a solution to this problem. They reduce this to a fuel which is similar to industrial diesel. The simple process was proven in other contexts, and is not new. Another nice thing about this process is that the plastics don’t have to be separated. One can take entire garbage bags full of the kits and use them as starters. So there is a problem, there is a solution. What is needed next is to take this out of the lab and into the world. That needs economic and political will.

Author: I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

8 thoughts on “PPE pollution”

  1. There are also the smaller things that can help. If everyone who doesn’t use medical grade PPE used washable masks, that would make a small difference. My hairdresser is using a protective visor – plastic – but just the single item, but gowns, and everything she wears as protection for herself and her customers is washable. Whereas my husband’s barber uses disposable gowns.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hmm. domestically, that’s not a problem, a few masks added to the wash. And it depends on your detergent. My salon aims to be sustainable and chooses its products with care, so I’d still go with renewable.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I keep thinking about that too………but the story like the chemists from Dehra Dun give me hope. Similarly, few days back I had seen a Whatsapp video on converting wasted milk to bio-disposable fabric.

    Liked by 2 people

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