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Personal protective equipment-derived pollution during Covid-19 era: A critical review of ecotoxicology impacts, intervention strategies, and future challenges
, Abu Reza Md. Towfiqul Islam,

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.

PPE waste, Microplastics, Human health risks, Bay of Bengal, Ecotoxicity
Journal or Conference Name
Science of the Total Environment
Publication Year