Plastic panic in the pandemic: How single use items meant to protect us will harm the planet

Read the full story at Medill Reports.

If any good news has come out of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, it has come from its modest environmental benefits. Air quality has improved drastically in cities normally covered by smog, global emissions of CO2 may fall as much as 4-7% this year, and cities such as Miami are seeing significant improvements in water quality from less boating traffic. Some see this moment as a chance to make the economy more sustainable, while others are concerned about a post-pandemic surge in pollution levels.

Yet in many ways, the pandemic has worsened a different environmental crisis: plastic pollution. PPE, packaging for takeout food and water bottles have seen a rise in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Rachel Meidl, a member of Rice University’s Baker Institute.

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