The threat of the pandemic, COVID-19, has seen a surge in pharmaceutical personal care products (PPCPs). The demand for anti-pollution skincare product, Synthetic Masks (SMs), Cleaning agents, and Mass disinfectants has risen sharply in the face of the pandemic alert.
These products are mainly made of polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene or polyester. Polystyrene is a synthetic aromatic hydrocarbon polymer made from the monomer known as styrene. Polyethylene is made from the polymerization of ethylene (or ethene) monomer. Similarly, polyester is made from an acid, benzene-1, 4-dicarboxylic acid (terephthalic acid) and an alcohol, ethane-1, 2-diol.
According to Ocean Asia, an NGO working on environmental issues, the waste created by disposal of such products is a great concern in terms of their effect on the environment. Discarded single-use face masks, gloves and PPE cause significant harm too.
200 tons of clinical trash including discarded single-use masks is generated in a single day. These chemicals find their way into the sewage, surface water, sludge, sediments and soil through urban surface runoff or improper disposal practices.
Therefore, it is essential to continuously monitor the prevalence of contaminants, using a) SARS-CoV-2 control mechanism, b) Segregation of Waste with proper disposal system, c) On-site waste management and treatment of waste, d) Evaluation of degree of chemical contaminant in waste and e) Random on-site monitoring of Soil, groundwater and surface water quality.
Concerned areas need to use such monitoring systems to save the Environment. Waste classification and toxicity of contaminant, analysis of soil, ground water, surface water & drinking water analysis, hazardous waste audit and classification and complete effluent toxicity test.
The pollutants can be classified as major ions, trace elements, metals, transition metals, metalloids, pesticide with full suite, VOCs, Non-VOCs, low-molecular-weight organic acids and bases & microbial contaminants.