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Has The Pandemic Increased Water Pollution?

Posted on 14th September 2021

The global pandemic was overwhelming for most of us, and we’ve all been affected by it. Gladly, we are now gaining back a sense of normality, if such a thing is possible to achieve; and thanks to the strict measures put in place we enjoyed a better air quality. We all played our part in fighting the virus with good hygiene practice and the use of personal protective equipment: FACE MASKS.

With the virus in circulation, face masks were the trending item we all wanted and needed; it became our pass to enter any indoor location. We saw face coverings everywhere we went; we became so used to them that we started to lose sight of its importance and how rare it was at the pandemic’s beginning. Face masks have become so popular and easily accessible that even the marine life in our oceans are now starting to see more and more of this non-degradable PPE. Which put them in serious danger and can also affect humans quality of life.

Before the Covi-19 pandemic, 8 million metric tons of plastic entered our oceans yearly, and according to National Geographic, 79% of plastic covers the earth we live on. By 2050, the seas and lands will completely be covered by plastic if we don’t begin to adopt a better approach towards the environment we live in. However, we’re not changing our bad habits, and with the increased use of face masks, plastic is not the only form of pollution we have to worry about for our oceans. COVID-19 triggered an estimated global use of 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves every month, whilst this is a good sign that most of us did our best to limit the spread of the virus; unfortunately, 1.6 billion of the face masks ended in the oceans. The main issue with gloves and masks getting into our rivers and oceans is that they can easily be mistaken for jellyfish, which are a favourite food of sea turtles. Masks pose a heightened risk of entanglement for many fish, animals and birds due to their elastic and plastic components. However, they’re not the only ones to deal with the pollution threat: plastic is slowly being part of our food chain, endangering E V E R Y O N E’s quality of life.

Plastic Pollution

Ocean plastic pollution leads to the streams that supply water to our homes. A recent research has proven that there are traces of microplastic in our potable water, 83% of microplastic was found in tap water samples from major cities throughout the world and 93% of samples from the world’s top 11 bottled water brands. In order to minimise the threat that plastic causes to marine and human life, here are some actions you may start doing:

· Recycle plastic properly

· Don’t litter around waterways or beaches.

· Pick up and dispose in the right bin any form of litter, especially near ponds, streams, rivers and beaches

· Volunteer and take part in clean ups organised in your local community or in beaches

· Test your potable water regularly if you’re aboard a vessel

Water Testing

Water testing is crucial for seafarers to ensure they’re not drinking contaminated water; especially if you suspect an issue in your drinking water, testing it can confirm your doubts or put your mind at ease that you’re safe from consuming the water aboard your vessel.

Here are five reasons why you should be testing your drinking water and why you need a water testing solution on your vessel:

1. You need to comply with water testing legislation

2. The right solution can make testing straightforward

3. You could underestimate the toxicity of some contaminants

4. You could also underestimate the long term harm

5. If you suspect an issue, testing could confirm it

If you want to read more about why you have to conduct water testing, click here to find out more. You can also visit this page to find out more about the best water testing solutions for your vessel and to have ease of mind that your crew is drinking clean potable water, free from microplastics.