Quarantine: Good for Public Health, Terrible for the Environment.

Unless you are living under a rock, you know that at this moment, the coronavirus, COVID-19, is making its way across the planet, causing fear and hysteria. It has been recommended by the CDC and WHO that every one should stay inside for at least two weeks to help stop the spread of the virus, and although most people are listening, there are still many who are not. The panic-buying of supplies like toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, etc. has become even more of a problem for the Earth than the virus itself.

In my own experience, I was at my college dorm until about two weeks ago. Once the virus touched down in the United States, and the threat became real, my college responded with some drastic measures before shutting down completely. One of the procedures that they implemented, was only allowing 10 students inside the dining hall at once and having students take out their food to eat in their dorms. I thought that this was a great idea at first, but then I got the the dining hall and saw what they were doing. Styrofoam and plastic galore.

I was a little disappointed because before this whole pandemic went down, the dining hall had implemented reusable take out containers that students could use and bring back in order to limit waste. And now they had seemed to completely backtracked to disposable ones. There were still workers there to use the sanitation stations, so I don’t know why they did what they did.

But this also got me thinking about what others around the world are doing. All the one-use plastic items that are getting used like gangbusters to stay safe from this virus. It makes me sad that there is all that plastic, and probably more than normal, all because of people’s panic and hysteria. I know that there is sometimes when single-use plastic is more effective and better to use, like in the hospitals treating all the patients with COVID-19, but if the common citizen is staying in their home and quarantining like they should, then I see no need for the excessive waste.

However I have seen a bright side to all this quarantining. There are many cities around the world seeing less air pollution and even wildlife returning to the cities and surrounding areas in the absence of humans. It just shows how resilient nature can be, and maybe that there is a possibility for the quarantine to do some good.

I hope that this article finds all of you well and healthy. Remember that we can get through this all together and be stronger from it.

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