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1.
Chemosphere ; 302: 134805, 2022 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20242488

ABSTRACT

The tremendous use of plastic products to averse the infection rate during Covid-19 pandemic has developed great pressure on the management and disposal systems of plastic waste. The compulsory use of face masks to curb the infection and prevent transmission of the virus has led to addition of millions of face masks into the terrestrial and marine environment. The current study attempts to assess and quantify the rate of infection in coherence with the annual usage of face masks in various nations across the globe. The ecological footprint of the plastic waste generated from used and discarded face masks along with their potential impacts have also been discussed. The current study has quantified the total annual face masks across thirty-six nations to be more than 1.5 million ton. The total estimated figure for annual plastic waste and microplastics in all these nations was ∼4.2 million tonnes and 9774 thousand tonnes, which emerges as a great threat to the global efforts towards reduction of plastic usage. The emergence of Covid-19 pandemic has modified the living habits with new enterprises being set up for Covid essential products, but the associated hazard of these products has been significantly ignored. Hence this study attempts to present a quantitative baseline database towards interpretation and understanding of the hazards associated with microplastics and increased dependence on plastic products.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Microplastics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Masks , Pandemics/prevention & control , Plastics
2.
J Med Virol ; 95(6): e28871, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20238610

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is still spreading globally. Studies have reported the stability of SARS-CoV-2 in aerosols and on surfaces under different conditions. However, studies on the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and viral nucleic acids on common food and packaging material surfaces are insufficient. The study evaluated the stability of SARS-CoV-2 using TCID50 assays and the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids using droplet digital polymerase chain reaction on various food and packaging material surfaces. Viral nucleic acids were stable on food and material surfaces under different conditions. The viability of SARS-CoV-2 varied among different surfaces. SARS-CoV-2 was inactivated on most food and packaging material surfaces within 1 day at room temperature but was more stable at lower temperatures. Viruses survived for at least 1 week on pork and plastic at 4°C, while no viable viruses were detected on hairtail, orange, or carton after 3 days. There were viable viruses and a slight titer decrease after 8 weeks on pork and plastic, but titers decreased rapidly on hairtail and carton at -20°C. These results highlight the need for targeted preventive and disinfection measures based on different types of foods, packaging materials, and environmental conditions, particularly in the cold-chain food trade, to combat the ongoing pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nucleic Acids , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Biological Assay , Plastics
3.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int ; 30(31): 77453-77468, 2023 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20237864

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has mandated people to use medical masks to protect the public. However the improper management of disposable mask waste has led to the increase of marine pollution, in terms of water quality, and the decline in aquatic microorganisms. The aim of this research was to investigate the impact of disposable mask waste on fresh water and microalgae biomass quality. Disposable masks (untreated or treated with Enterococcus faecalis) were placed in 10-L glass reactors containing fresh water or water containing algal Chlorella sp. and its growth supplements (Chlorella medium) (four 10-L reactors in total) and kept in controlled conditions for 3 months. Water and biomass yield quality were evaluated using water quality analysis, spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and proximate lipid and protein analysis. Disposable masks, incubated in either fresh water or Chlorella medium, affected several water quality parameters such as chemical oxygen demand (COD), biological oxygen demand (BOD), dissolved oxygen (DO), and pH. Microplastic identification revealed that some fibers were present in the water following a 100-day treatment process. Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis was used to determine the change in important, organic functional groups and highlighted the disappearance of a peak at 1530 cm-1 corresponding to the primary protein (C-N) and the appearance of new peaks at 1651 cm-1 and 1270 cm-1 corresponding to methyl alcohol (CH2OH) and ketone (C = O), respectively. This indicated the detrimental effect of disposable mask fragmentation on the biomass quality. The SEM investigation has shown a damage to the surface membrane of Chlorella sp. cells. Altogether, disposable masks decreased the water quality and damaged microalgae by inhibiting their growth. Therefore, the disposable mask contaminated by various microbes, after being used by a human, may be one of the most dangerous hazards to the environment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chlorella , Microalgae , Humans , Plastics , Microplastics , Pandemics
4.
Sci Total Environ ; 892: 164803, 2023 Sep 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236896

ABSTRACT

With the upsurge in the use of disposable masks during the coronavirus disease pandemic, improper disposal of discarded masks and their negative impact on the environment have emerged as major issues. Improperly disposed of masks release various pollutants, particularly microplastic (MP) fibers, which can harm both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems by interfering with the nutrient cycling, plant growth, and the health and reproductive success of organisms. This study assesses the environmental distribution of polypropylene (PP)-containing MPs, generated from disposable masks, using material flow analysis (MFA). The system flowchart is designed based on the processing efficiency of various compartments in the MFA model. The highest amount of MPs (99.7 %) is found in the landfill and soil compartments. A scenario analysis reveals that waste incineration significantly reduces the amount of MP transferred to landfills. Therefore, considering cogeneration and gradually increasing the incineration treatment rate are crucial to manage the processing load of waste incineration plants and minimize the negative impact of MPs on the environment. The findings provide insights into the potential environmental exposure associated with the improper disposal of waste masks and indicate strategies for sustainable mask disposal and management.


Subject(s)
Ecosystem , Masks , Microplastics , Plastics , Polypropylenes
5.
Molecules ; 28(11)2023 May 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236404

ABSTRACT

Brazil has a megadiversity that includes marine species that are distributed along 800 km of shoreline. This biodiversity status holds promising biotechnological potential. Marine organisms are important sources of novel chemical species, with applications in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, chemical, and nutraceutical fields. However, ecological pressures derived from anthropogenic actions, including the bioaccumulation of potentially toxic elements and microplastics, impact promising species. This review describes the current status of the biotechnological and environmental aspects of seaweeds and corals from the Brazilian coast, including publications from the last 5 years (from January 2018 to December 2022). The search was conducted in the main public databases (PubChem, PubMed, Science Direct, and Google Scholar) and in the Espacenet database (European Patent Office-EPO) and the Brazilian National Property Institute (INPI). Bioprospecting studies were reported for seventy-one seaweed species and fifteen corals, but few targeted the isolation of compounds. The antioxidant potential was the most investigated biological activity. Despite being potential sources of macro- and microelements, there is a literature gap regarding the presence of potentially toxic elements and other emergent contaminants, such as microplastics, in seaweeds and corals from the Brazilian coast.


Subject(s)
Anthozoa , Seaweed , Animals , Brazil , Microplastics , Plastics , Seaweed/chemistry
6.
BMC Public Health ; 23(1): 1077, 2023 06 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236211

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A SARS-CoV-2 outbreak with an attack rate of 14.3% was reported at a plastics manufacturing plant in England. METHODS: Between 23rd March and 13th May 2021, the COVID-OUT team undertook a comprehensive outbreak investigation, including environmental assessment, surface sampling, molecular and serological testing, and detailed questionnaires, to identify potential SARS-CoV-2 transmission routes, and workplace- and worker-related risk factors. RESULTS: While ventilation, indicated using real-time CO2 proxy measures, was generally adequate on-site, the technical office with the highest localized attack rate (21.4%) frequently reached peaks in CO2 of 2100ppm. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found in low levels (Ct ≥35) in surface samples collected across the site. High noise levels (79dB) were recorded in the main production area, and study participants reported having close work contacts (73.1%) and sharing tools (75.5%). Only 20.0% of participants reported using a surgical mask and/or FFP2/FFP3 respirator at least half the time and 71.0% expressed concerns regarding potential pay decreases and/or unemployment due to self-isolation or workplace closure. CONCLUSIONS: The findings reinforce the importance of enhanced infection control measures in manufacturing sectors, including improved ventilation with possible consideration of CO2 monitoring, utilising air cleaning interventions in enclosed environments, and provision of good-quality face masks (i.e., surgical masks or FFP2/FFP3 respirators) especially when social distancing cannot be maintained. Further research on the impacts of job security-related concerns is warranted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , COVID-19/prevention & control , Plastics , RNA, Viral , Carbon Dioxide , Disease Outbreaks , Manufacturing and Industrial Facilities
7.
Mar Pollut Bull ; 192: 115088, 2023 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2327638

ABSTRACT

Personal protective equipment (PPE) use has increased because of COVID-19, producing more microplastics (MPs). The pandemic's impact on MP pollution in Indian rivers is little understood. In this study, the Netravathi River in Karnataka was investigated for the spatiotemporal distribution of MPs. The MPs abundance, size, and categories varied seasonally, with a higher concentration during the monsoon seasons. The reduction in rainfall during MON20 and the COVID-19 lockdown can be the reasons for the significant decrease in the MP concentration when compared to MON19. Polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate were the most abundant polymers, with a shift from polyethylene to the latter (74 %) during post-monsoon season post-lockdown. The situation of MP pollution in Western Ghats can be mitigated with the aid of appropriate waste management of plastic trash and greater public awareness about the disposal of single-use plastics, which has risen significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Humans , Microplastics , Plastics , Rivers , Pandemics , India/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Polyethylene , Environmental Monitoring , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis
8.
Sci Total Environ ; 890: 164359, 2023 Sep 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2324437

ABSTRACT

Microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) have caused global environmental concerns due to their ubiquitous existence in our surrounding environment and the potential threats posed to the ecosystem and human health. This review aims to extend current knowledge on the formation and degradation of MPs and NPs. The paper presents the potential sources of MPs and NPs including plastic containers, textiles, cosmetics, personal care products, COVID-19 wastes, and other plastic products. Once in the natural environment, the fragmentation and degradation of plastic wastes are thought to be initiated by physical, chemical, and biological factors. The corresponding degradation mechanism will be presented in the present review. Given the plastic life and environment, humans are inevitably exposed to MPs and NPs through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. The potential risks MPs/NPs pose to humans will be also discussed in our study. Currently, the relevance of MP/NP exposure to human health outcomes is still controversial and not yet fully understood. Deciphering the translocation and degradation of plastics in the human body will be helpful to reveal their potential organotoxicity. In this case, available approaches to alleviate MP/NP pollution and advanced strategies to reduce MP/NP toxicity in humans are recommended to build a plastic-free life.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Humans , Ecosystem , Plastics , Environment , Environmental Pollution , Microplastics
9.
Mar Pollut Bull ; 192: 115031, 2023 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2324012

ABSTRACT

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a new world of waste during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this baseline study, the occurrence of PPE faces masks were assessed on the eleven beaches of Kanyakumari, India concerning the abundance, spatial distribution, and chemical characterization (ATR-FTIR spectroscopy). A total of 1593 items/m2 of PPE face masks and their mean density of 0.16 PPE/m2, ranging from 0.02 to 0.54 PPE/m2 were determined in the study area. Kanyakumari beach (n = 430 items/m2) has the highest concentration of masks (26.99 %), with a mean density of 0.54 m2 due to recreational, sewage disposal, and tourism activities. This is perhaps the most important study describing the scientific data that focuses on the significant effects of communal activities and accessibility on COVID-19 PPE face mask pollution. It also highlights the need for sufficient management facilities to optimize PPE disposal.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/prevention & control , Masks , Pandemics , Personal Protective Equipment , India , Plastics
10.
Sci Total Environ ; 890: 164070, 2023 Sep 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2320865

ABSTRACT

For three years, a large amount of manufactured pollutants such as plastics, antibiotics and disinfectants has been released into the environment due to COVID-19. The accumulation of these pollutants in the environment has exacerbated the damage to the soil system. However, since the epidemic outbreak, the focus of researchers and public attention has consistently been on human health. It is noteworthy that studies conducted in conjunction with soil pollution and COVID-19 represent only 4 % of all COVID-19 studies. In order to enhance researchers' and the public awareness of the seriousness on the COVID-19 derived soil pollution, we propose the viewpoint that "pandemic COVID-19 ends but soil pollution increases" and recommend a whole-cell biosensor based new method to assess the environmental risk of COVID-19 derived pollutants. This approach is expected to provide a new way for environmental risk assessment of soils affected by contaminants produced from the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Environmental Pollutants , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Environmental Pollution/analysis , Soil , Plastics , Risk Assessment
11.
Sci Total Environ ; 887: 164055, 2023 Aug 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2320305

ABSTRACT

Face masks are an indispensable low-cost public healthcare necessity for containing viral transmission. After the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) became a pandemic, there was an unprecedented demand for, and subsequent increase in face mask production and use, leading to global ecological challenges, including excessive resource consumption and significant environmental pollution. Here, we review the global demand volume for face masks and the associated energy consumption and pollution potential throughout their life cycle. First, the production and distribution processes consume petroleum-based raw materials and other energy sources and release greenhouse gases. Second, most methods of mask waste disposal result in secondary microplastic pollution and the release of toxic gases and organic substances. Third, face masks discarded in outdoor environments represent a new plastic pollutant and pose significant challenges to the environment and wildlife in various ecosystems. Therefore, the long-term impacts on environmental and wildlife health aspects related to the production, use, and disposal of face masks should be considered and urgently investigated. Here, we propose five reasonable countermeasures to alleviate these global-scale ecological crises induced by mask use during and following the COVID-19 pandemic era: increasing public awareness; improving mask waste management; innovating waste disposal methods; developing biodegradable masks; and formulating relevant policies and regulations. Implementation of these measures will help address the pollution caused by face masks.


Subject(s)
Animals, Wild , COVID-19 , Humans , Animals , Ecosystem , Masks , Pandemics , Plastics , Environmental Pollution
12.
Sci Total Environ ; 887: 163984, 2023 Aug 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2318323

ABSTRACT

The widespread use of Personal protective equipments (PPEs) by the healthcare professionals and public due to Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has become a new source for MFs pollution. Mismanaged plastic wastes and random dispose of used surgical face mask end up in large aquatic bodies via small waterways and waste water treatment plants (WWTPs). Microplastics/Microfibres (MPs/MFs) have recently been reported in a variety of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including water, deep sea sediments, air and soil. Natural components like UV radiation and temperature play a major role in weathering of surgical masks. High loads of MPs/MFs emitted into the aquatic environment are easily consumed by organism's habitat in such ecosystem by disrupting the food chain and causing chronic health problems in the organisms including humans. The aim of this review article is to shed light on these issues and compile the most recent information available regarding the deterioration of surgical face masks in the environment as well as other contaminants and their presence in various environments, particularly with regard to methods that make use of exposure models, biomarkers of exposure, and their limitations. Along with this, the study focuses on identifying gaps in current understanding and highlighting prospective research directions. The literature on surgical face mask pollution and its effects on the biological and physiological systems of various organisms and ecosystems is critically analysed in this review. It also raises awareness of how to properly dispose of used surgical face masks and other PPEs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Humans , Plastics , Ecosystem , Prospective Studies , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis , Microplastics , Biota
13.
Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 13: 1170505, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2318112

ABSTRACT

Background: Low temperature is conducive to the survival of COVID-19. Some studies suggest that cold-chain environment may prolong the survival of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and increase the risk of transmission. However, the effect of cold-chain environmental factors and packaging materials on SARS-CoV-2 stability remains unclear. Methods: This study aimed to reveal cold-chain environmental factors that preserve the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and further explore effective disinfection measures for SARS-CoV-2 in the cold-chain environment. The decay rate of SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus in the cold-chain environment, on various types of packaging material surfaces, i.e., polyethylene plastic, stainless steel, Teflon and cardboard, and in frozen seawater was investigated. The influence of visible light (wavelength 450 nm-780 nm) and airflow on the stability of SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus at -18°C was subsequently assessed. Results: Experimental data show that SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus decayed more rapidly on porous cardboard surfaces than on nonporous surfaces, including polyethylene (PE) plastic, stainless steel, and Teflon. Compared with that at 25°C, the decay rate of SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus was significantly lower at low temperatures. Seawater preserved viral stability both at -18°C and with repeated freeze-thaw cycles compared with that in deionized water. Visible light from light-emitting diode (LED) illumination and airflow at -18°C reduced SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus stability. Conclusion: Our studies indicate that temperature and seawater in the cold chain are risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and LED visible light irradiation and increased airflow may be used as disinfection measures for SARS-CoV-2 in the cold-chain environment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , COVID-19/prevention & control , Refrigeration , Disinfection , Stainless Steel , Plastics , Polytetrafluoroethylene , Polyethylenes
14.
J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng ; 58(7): 694-705, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2317443

ABSTRACT

The mismanagement of consumer-discarded plastic waste (CDPW) has raised global environmental concerns about climate change. The COVID-19 outbreak has generated ∼1.6 million tons of plastic waste per day in the form of personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, face shields, and sanitizer bottles). These plastic wastes are either combustible or openly dumped in aquatic and terrestrial environments. Open dumping upsurges emerging contaminants like micro-nano plastics (MNPs) that directly enter the ecosystem and cause severe impacts on flora and fauna. Therefore, it has become an utmost priority to determine sustainable technologies that can degrade or treat MNPs from the environment. The present review assesses the sources and impacts of MNPs, various challenges, and issues associated with their remediation techniques. Accordingly, a novel sustainable circular model is recommended to increase the degradation efficiency of MNPs using biochemical and biological methods. It is also concluded that the proposed model does not only overcome environmental issues but also provides a sustainable secondary resource to meet the sustainable development goals (SDGs).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Plastics , Humans , Microplastics , Ecosystem , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control
15.
Sci Total Environ ; 887: 164164, 2023 Aug 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2315235

ABSTRACT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people used personal protective equipment (PPE) to lessen the spread of the virus. The release of microplastics (MPs) from discarded PPE is a new threat to the long-term health of the environment and poses challenges that are not yet clear. PPE-derived MPs have been found in multi-environmental compartments, e.g., water, sediments, air, and soil across the Bay of Bengal (BoB). As COVID-19 spreads, healthcare facilities use more plastic PPE, polluting aquatic ecosystems. Excessive PPE use releases MPs into the ecosystem, which aquatic organisms ingest, distressing the food chain and possibly causing ongoing health problems in humans. Thus, post-COVID-19 sustainability depends on proper intervention strategies for PPE waste, which have received scholarly interest. Although many studies have investigated PPE-induced MPs pollution in the BoB countries (e.g., India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar), the ecotoxicity impacts, intervention strategies, and future challenges of PPE-derived waste have largely gone unnoticed. Our study presents a critical literature review covering the ecotoxicity impacts, intervention strategies, and future challenges across the BoB countries (e.g., India (162,034.45 tons), Bangladesh (67,996 tons), Sri Lanka (35,707.95 tons), and Myanmar (22,593.5 tons). The ecotoxicity impacts of PPE-derived MPs on human health and other environmental compartments are critically addressed. The review's findings infer a gap in the 5R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Redesign, and Restructure) Strategy's implementation in the BoB coastal regions, hindering the achievement of UN SDG-12. Despite widespread research advancements in the BoB, many questions about PPE-derived MPs pollution from the perspective of the COVID-19 era still need to be answered. In response to the post-COVID-19 environmental remediation concerns, this study highlights the present research gaps and suggests new research directions considering the current MPs' research advancements on COVID-related PPE waste. Finally, the review suggests a framework for proper intervention strategies for reducing and monitoring PPE-derived MPs pollution in the BoB countries.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Ecotoxicology , Ecosystem , Plastics/toxicity , Pandemics , Microplastics , Personal Protective Equipment
16.
Sci Total Environ ; 887: 164143, 2023 Aug 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2313222

ABSTRACT

Wastewater-based monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 has become a promising and useful tool in tracking the potential spread or dynamics of the virus. Its recording can be used to predict how the potential number of infections in a population will develop. Recent studies have shown that the use of passive samplers is also suitable for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 genome copies (GC) in wastewater. They can be used at any site, provide timely data and may collect SARS-CoV-2 GC missed by traditional sampling methods. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the suitability of passive samplers for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 GC in wastewater in the long-term at two different scales. Polyethylene-based plastic passive samplers were deployed at the city-scale level of Leipzig at 13 different locations, with samples being taken from March 2021 to August 2022. At the smaller city district level, three types of passive samplers (cotton-cloth, unravelled polypropylene plastic rope and polyethylene-based plastic strips) were used and sampled on a weekly basis from March to August 2022. The results are discussed in relation to wastewater samples taken at the individual passive sampling point. Our results show that passive samplers can indicate at a city-scale level an accurate level of positive infections in the population (positive-rate: 86 %). On a small-scale level, the use of passive samplers was also feasible and effective to detect SARS-CoV-2 GC easily and cost-effectively, mirroring a similar trend to that at a city-scale level. Thus, this study demonstrated that passive samplers provide reproducible SARS-CoV-2 GC signals from wastewater and a time-integrated measurement of the sampled matrix with greater sensitivity compared to wastewater. We thus recommend the use of passive samplers as an alternative method for wastewater-based epidemiology. Passive samplers can in particular be considered for a better estimation of infections compared to incidence levels.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Wastewater , Germany , Plastics , Polyethylene
17.
Mar Pollut Bull ; 192: 115004, 2023 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2318957

ABSTRACT

The entire human race is struggling with the spread of COVID-19. Worldwide, the wearing of face masks is indispensable to prevent such spread. Despite numerous studies reporting on the fabrication of face masks and surgical masks to reduce spread and thus human deaths, this novel work is considered the marine waste of microplastics, namely Polypropylene (PP) polymer, used to fabricate non-woven fabric masks through the melt-blown process. This experimental work aims to maximize the mask's quality and minimize its fabrication cost by optimizing the melt-blown process parameters and using microplastics. The melt-blown process was used to make masks. Parameters such as extruder temperature, hot air temperature, melt flow rate, and die-to-collector distance (DCD) were investigated as independent variables. The quality of the mask was investigated in terms of bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE), particle filtration efficiency (PFE), and differential pressure. The Taguchi L16 orthogonal array and Taguchi analysis were employed for experimental design and statistical optimization, respectively. The results reveal that the higher BFE and PFE are recorded at 96.7 % and 98.6 %, respectively. The surface morphological investigation on different layers ensured the fine and uniform porosity of the layers and exhibited minimum breath resistance (a low differential pressure of 0.00152 kPa/cm2). Hence the chemically treated marine waste microplastics improved the masks' performance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Polypropylenes , Microplastics , Plastics , Filtration
18.
J Hazard Mater ; 455: 131583, 2023 08 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2309689

ABSTRACT

Facemasks are indispensable for preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, improper disposal of discarded facemasks has led to their contamination in the marine environment. To understand the environmental risk of this emerging plastic pollution, it's important to clarify the features that distinguish discarded facemasks from common plastic waste during aging. This study compared the microbial colonization, degradation-related enzymes, and physicochemical properties among surgical masks, polystyrene cups, polycarbonate bottles, and polyethylene terephthalate bottles in their aging processes in natural seawater. Compared to the other plastic wastes, surgical masks were colonized by the most diverse microorganisms, reaching 1521 unique prokaryotic OTUs after 21-day exposure in seawater. Moreover, the activity of eukaryotic enzymes associated with plastic degradation was 80-fold higher than that in seawater, indicating that the colonized eukaryotes would be the major microorganisms degrading the surgical masks. Meanwhile, the nano-sized defects (depth between 8 and 61 nm) would evolve into cracks of bigger sizes and result in the breakage of the microfibers and releasing microplastics into the ocean. Overall, our study demonstrated a distinctive plastisphere occurred in surgical masks from both microbial and physiochemical aspects. This work provides new insights for assessing the potential risk of plastic pollution caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Plastics , Humans , Plastics/metabolism , Masks , Pandemics , Bacteria/metabolism , COVID-19/prevention & control , Seawater , Biodegradation, Environmental , Aging
19.
Mar Pollut Bull ; 191: 114954, 2023 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2309214

ABSTRACT

Facemasks have become a global medical necessity and are a key preventive measure against COVID-19. Typically, facemasks (FMs) are fabricated from non-renewable polymers, particularly polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE), which release secondary microplastic (MPs) due to the chemical, physical, and biological processes. In light of the widespread usage and improper disposal of single-use facemasks, there is concern about their environmental impact since they contribute to plastic pollution during and after pandemics. The repercussions of this have led to millions of tons of plastic waste being dumped into the environment. Due to lack of awareness and improper disposal, the occurrence of micro/nanoplastics released from facemasks in wastewater treatment plants and landfills poses a concern. Infiltration of wastewater treatment processes by micro/nanoplastics at various levels can be problematic because of their chemical nature and broad but small size. Thus, operational and process stability issues can arise during wastewater treatment processes. In addition, landfilling and illegal waste disposal are being used to dispose of potentially infectious COVID-19 waste, leading to an environmental threat to animal and human health and exacerbating plastic pollution. This paper reviews the fate of facemasks in the environment and the repercussions of improper waste management of facemasks in wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and ultimately the environment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Animals , Humans , Microplastics , Plastics , Masks , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis , Environmental Monitoring
20.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int ; 30(24): 66102-66112, 2023 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2307023

ABSTRACT

A generation of microplastics caused by improper disposal of disposable masks has become a non-negligible environmental concern. In order to investigate the degradation mechanisms of masks and the release of microplastics under different environmental conditions, the masks are placed in 4 common environments. After 30 days of weathering, the total amount and release kinetics of microplastics released from different layers of the mask were studied. The chemical and mechanical properties of the mask were also discussed. The results showed that the mask released 25141±3543 particles/mask into the soil, which is much more than the sea and river water. The release kinetics of microplastics fit the Elovich model better. All samples correspond to the release rate of microplastics from fast to slow. Experiments show that the middle layer of the mask is released more than the other layers, and the amount of release was highest in the soil. And the tensile capacity of the mask is negatively correlated with its ability to release microplastics in the following order, which are soil > seawater > river > air > new masks. In addition, during the weathering process, the C-C/C-H bond of the mask was broken.


Subject(s)
Microplastics , Plastics , Fresh Water , Kinetics , Soil
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