2020 was a whirlwind year and a global pandemic was just the tip of the iceberg. The pandemic brought its influence on anything and everything including our planet, causing mixed impacts and although the pandemic did dramatically bring down water and noise pollution globally, there are still some negative side effects that covid has brought into our environment like for example, waste. Waste has become a significant issue since COVID-19 started. One human can accumulate a lot of waste from just staying inside all day, every day, but how about over one billion humans going on lockdown? Imagine how much waste we’ve created in just over a year now. AAAS says that after lockdowns end, “The pandemic could result in a monthly global consumption and waste of 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves”. According to NCBI, medical waste has increased globally and is a serious threat to everyone’s health. In China, there have been 240 metric tons of waste produced every day since the pandemic hit. In India, the amount of medical waste increased from about 500 kg to 1,000 kg a day in the beginning stages of COVID-19 but it's 2021 now and we are already about to be 4 months in. We have had more than enough time to limit our waste but now, this is serious. “Of course, world leaders and corporations need to take drastic action to address the major challenges we’re facing, but there are also things we can do collectively in our daily lives to make a difference.” Says Emily Chan, a sustainability editor at Vogue. There are so many various ways for people to take care of our environment to help limit waste yet, people just don’t do it because it’s hard to start practicing something that you’ve never even looked into before. For instance, shopping. Instead of going to Urban Outfitters or Free people, go thrifting or even start upcycling clothing. The fashion production accumulates over 100 million tons of waste a year. Thrifting and upcycling would help decrease a lot of that waste. Stop using so much plastic! We all have heard its negative side effects not just on humans but also on animals. Try looking for biodegradable or reusable containers and if you can’t, at least ask for no straw the next time you go to Starbucks. Switching up where you buy your food is also a simple, daily change you can make. The food we consume has an effect on greenhouse gas emissions and our pollution. Even the smallest change in your diet can still make an extensive impact. For the ladies that love to wear makeup like I do, relook and throw out the beauty products that aren’t cruelty-free and make sure that the next time you buy makeup it’s 100% eco-friendly. Cutting back on hot water is so important to our environment as hot water is responsible for 875kg of CO2 used per household. Ways to help reduce your carbon footprint are quicker showers or washing your clothes at a colder temperature. One last way of improving your environment is the way you use public transport. This is far easier to do than it seems, it’s just a matter of you remembering that it’s a choice you can take. For example let’s say you’re going to the Union Station in Denver for the day, instead of taking your car, take the light rail! It’s that simple. I could list so many more ideas of how to help preserve our environment but I can only do so much and the rest is up to you. I’ve given you the ideas now what’s important is what you will do now that you have the capacity to do so.
Story By: Hannah Trollope '22