A Review of the Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Solid Waste Management
Bessy Eva Kathambi 1, Linda Maryanne Obiero 1 *
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1 Department of Earth & Climate Sciences, Faculty of Science & Technology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, KENYA* Corresponding Author

Abstract

Pandemics affect the very existence of human life and their effects going beyond human life to the environment. Natural resources within evolving city milieus require sustainable environmental management. In the COVID-19 pandemic, disposal of face masks in rivers have been witnessed illustrating the implications of COVID-19 on solid waste management and ultimately on the environment. The risks associated and enhanced from improper waste management continues to have adverse impact on water bodies like rivers further aggravating the previous conditions of pollution, which contribute to the effects of climate change. Interestingly, COVID-19 pandemic has had positive environmental effects especially during the lockdowns evidenced by reduced travelling hence reduced global carbon dioxide emissions thereby resulting in improved air quality. However, the pandemic has imposed a further strain on the municipal waste system of many developing economies whose waste management structures and frameworks are still straining from doubled waste generation. As part of the COVID-19 protocol, advisory of wearing face masks was made mandatory for prevention purposes. Unfortunately, a constraint exists in developing protocols towards the management of the used face masks, gloves and PPEs. Increased generation of used face masks and gloves further accelerates indiscriminate dumping of these wastes not only in water bodies but also in dumpsites. Burning of these wastes will lead to increased production of greenhouse gases that have been cited as contributing to climate change. Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, it is advisable for governments in developing countries to treat waste management as an essential service to avoid future foreseeable and unforeseeable adverse impacts on the environment.

License

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Review Article

EUR J SUSTAIN DEV RES, 2022, Volume 6, Issue 4, Article No: em0196

https://doi.org/10.21601/ejosdr/12221

Publication date: 12 Jul 2022

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