COVID-19 and the Sea: The tale of two Crisis

COVID-19 and the Sea: The tale of two Crisis

“As the treacherous disease-infested the land,
The atmosphere eluded the grasp of carbon emission. But we are not the only one with cuffs on the hand, Beneath the waves is another story of annihilation.”

Jean O’Leonhart

Together with constant domination of deadly disease, Corona Virus 2019(Covid-19), to the world, it holds various impact that stands as variables towards nature. There are several news and articles that were publish by different websites and online magazines that the disease upholds a positive impact to the environment. In fact, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), published a report depicting an information towards the decreased carbon emission on China[1]. Also, several photos in Italy showed that waters on Venice Canals improves with less human activity.[2]

In the Philippines, the effect of the virus is very much visible. Traffics has always been worst all throughout the archipelago. However, during the controlled human activity, there were accounted less car movement on highways. Sierra Madre, the proud mountain ridges of Luzon, once again showcase the massive outline of its beauty above the city of Manila as haze dissipate into thin air leaving a magnificent view clearer than crystal.[1] Despite of its numerous positive impacts towards the atmosphere and on land, there is one kingdom that was forgotten amidst the crises and it suffers a lot more different from the world above its border —the coastal ecosystem.

The Threat

As the world rapidly produce products to combat the current pandemic, there are also mountains of trashes that were generated. In Wuhan, China alone, its waste production nearly quadrupled since the dawn of the outbreak accounting 200 tons of waste on a single day[1]. Wastes that went nothing but on land and to the sea. Recently, Starbucks Corporation, announced that they will halt the usage of reusable cup brought by a consumer and will be using their own paper cups on every purchase[2]. It is their way to halt the rapid spread of the virus. There are also supermarkets across the world that set asides the uses of eco-bags or reusable bags in buying supplies since it can be potential carriers of the virus[3]. In addition, with the lack of Personal Protective Equipment supplies, people around the world creates a new alternative solution and its main component —plastics[4]. Wastes that end up mostly at the sea.

Reusable cups, bags and other reusable products plays a vital role in combatting the generation of waste worldwide. In 2019, reports shows that humans produce 2 billion tonnes of waste[5] each year but with the recent pandemic that infests the world, this numbers is predicted to rise.

The Cost

As the world above the waves continues to battle, there’s a different story written below the waters. With the rapid rise of waste production during the world pandemic, the worlds ocean is threatened most specially the coastal ecosystem.


Surgical Mask and N-95 masks are single-use and are wore by humans as the first line of defense mostly ends up on the sea. On the coastline of Hong Kong, Gary Strokes, the founder of Oceans Asia, collected roughly seventy(70) pieces of such mask on a hundred(100) meter stretch and another thirty(30) pieces a week later[1]. If such volumes continue, it is not only the environment on the beach that will be compromised, it includes life below the waves and that are fishes.

Underwater world creatures are unaware of the waste generated by human so most of them mistakenly swallow such trashes as food. Recent studies show that commercial fishes nowadays had already microplastics ingested on their stomach[2]. Some of the Whale carcasses are also considered toxic waste as microplastics already penetrated through their bodies[3]. All accounted marine animals washed onshore, have recorded to have a plastic waste on its stomach. If the dumping of waste to the sea continues, by 2050, there could be a greater weight of plastics in the ocean than fish[4]. This year, it is spearheaded by masks, gloves, and other health defense equipment that were once used for combating the virus.

The Tale

The ocean holds a vast amounts of nutrients and humans are one of the predators that benefits its abundance. If mankind continues to destroy the habitat of the primary source of food and crippled the flow of the food chain, it will be held no doubt that the side effect will return to the cause. The battle of the Corona Virus 2019 hold not too easy for the world. People’s prime instinct is to survive and protect themselves from the threat but as they protect their selves they compromise another. It should be instill to one’s mind that it is not only protecting one’s life it should also be protecting life around the environment and that is being responsible of one’s waste. That way, the world will live sustainably amidst the crisis that the world face.

“We can protect our life and stay at home for free. We can also protect theirs by being responsible and not throwing our masks to the sea. “

Jean O’Leonhart

References


[1] https://www.sustainability-times.com/environmental-protection/the-covid-19-outbreak-is-adding-to-plastic-pollution/

[2] https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/how-plastic-from-our-clothing-is-ending-up-in-fish/

[3] https://www.ourplanet.com/en/video/how-to-save-our-high-seas

[4] https://www.ourplanet.com/en/video/how-to-save-our-high-seas




[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3065049/coronavirus-china-struggling-deal-mountain-medical-waste-created

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51767092

[3] https://progressivegrocer.com/covid-19-reprieve-single-use-plastic

[4] https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.rappler.com/nation/255670-photos-medical-frontliners-improvise-personal-protective-equipment-shortage-coronavirus

[5] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://sensoneo.com/sensoneo-global-waste-index-2019/&ved=2ahUKEwi3saLgwcHoAhXIwosBHY3QDqIQFjAHegQIDRAh&usg=AOvVaw1p5DK9Iv3Kx5-pN_kK04gS




[1] https://www.esquiremag.ph/life/travel/clean-air-metro-manila-photos-sierra-madre-a00293-20200324




[1] https://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146362/airborne-nitrogen-dioxide-plummets-over-china

[2] https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbc.com/amp/2020/03/18/photos-water-in-venice-italys-canals-clear-amid-covid-19-lockdown.html

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