The global disruption caused by the emergence of the novel corona virus has not only changed human livelihoods but has also evidently impacted our environment. While we could hardly see any bright side of this pandemic, the world witnessed a shy return of mother nature as modern life started slowing down.
In fact, carbon emissions has seen a sharp drop by %17 according to the Nature Climate Change journal as daily emissions globally decreased by around 18.7 million tons compared to the average daily emissions in 2019.
And while we, as humans, are locked down, the fauna and flora are taking back what was theirs in the first place!
This is all great news! However, unless countries and businesses make a concerted effort to maintain this trend, it will not last. And this is where the “Sustainability” becomes a hot topic.
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: SAFETY OVER SUSTAINABILITY?
We are seeing lately a big come back for disposable packaging, disposable cutlery, and single use plastic as people feel this is safer and more hygienic. But are they really?
These material like any other are exposed to whatever pathogen have settled on to them throughout their way to us. So, as we get back to the new normal, we might as well opt for reusable items provided they’re washed with soap and water.
Not to mention face masks which are now mandatory for all, a very dangerous addition to the single use plastic list! Many disposable masks are made of plastic (a petroleum-based product) and their random disposal leads not only to pollution of seashores but also to spreading the virus.
As per the WHO (World Health Organisation) guidelines, we should be disposing our masks immediately after use in a closed bin.
Dulsco being licensed to collect and transport the medical waste, is suggesting and providing to its clients medical waste bins for the safe disposal of these masks and other PPE -such as gloves- which will then be transported and treated at the Jebel Ali Hazardous Waste Treatment Facility in Dubai.
We can always be protecting ourselves against the virus and safeguarding the planet at the same time by using a more sustainable alternative for disposable face masks – such as reusable and certified face masks (which must be used correctly!).
SUSTAINABLE HABITS, WHERE HAVE YOU GONE?
As our life pace slowed down, we now have enough time to be eco-conscious and kinder to nature. And there are so many sustainable habits that we can develop:
Reuse and repurpose your waste
In the UAE, every person produces around 2.3 kg of waste per day, which leads to a huge amount of waste ending up in the landfill. This number can go down significantly if we repurpose and reuse the material we produce instead of trashing it – it is so easy and simple! You can use your old glass jars for food storage (like beans or flour for example), or turn your old glass bottle into a flower vase!
Segregate your waste and recycle
Once you get used to segregating your waste your waste, it becomes an addictive habit! All you need to do is dedicate a box that you don’t need and use it to throw all your recyclables such as plastic, glass, paper, cards, aluminum, and tin cans. Make sure they are clean and dry and most importantly make sure to drop them at a recycling station!
Switching short trips in car to a bike ride or even a walk
A quick way to losing calories and getting in shape but it also reduces the use of your car and therefore the emissions!
Buy in loose
When doing your errands, avoid packaged material as much as possible, get your own reusable bag and containers instead!
Rework your wardrobe
It is not a good time to spend on new clothes anyway! You might as well just get creative. You can wear the same shirt in different ways (by tucking, tying or twisting it) and no one will notice it is the same. And the list goes on!
RECOVERY: A CHANCE TO REPENT?
On a more positive note, and as you all know, human species managed to survive through difficult times such as epidemics, wars, famine, and so on. And we will surely get beyond this phase and most of us started planning the post COVID era.
It is important to preserve the nature and biodiversity as when biodiversity is lost, the pathogens can spread freely between animals and people.
This being said, our best vaccine is the protection of nature and biodiversity, by adopting sustainable approaches within our businesses and daily life. Trust me, this is not a matter of being eco-friendly anymore but more of being mindful that if we want to reduce the occurrence of diseases, we must be sustainable and have a healthy environment.
- Le Quéré, C., Jackson, R.B., Jones, M.W. et al. Temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during the COVID19-forced confinement. Nat. Clim. Chang. (2020).
- The #breakfreefromplastic movement website
- Dubai Municipality waste figures mentioned at the national.ae