It seems that we are beginning to move away from the darker days of the global and national health emergency caused by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in our society. With the word de-escalation comes a hope to return, but not before giving it some thought, to our rhythm of life as we knew it before the impact of the pandemic. A process of phasing out of our daily life, in which gloves and masks become our new companions for shopping, walking, playing sports or going to work.
We live in a situation in which the priority as a society must be to contain the evolution of this virus. Always on the side of science and the welfare of life in our environment, applicable to flora, fauna and us as human beings, from LIBERA we have always valued scientific knowledge as the best tool for a society to prosper in a sustainable way. Therefore, of course we agree that we do not skimp on the use of protection indicated by the administrations, either by quantity, quality and mode of use. However, we must bear in mind that due to their composition and functions, this protective equipment cannot always be reused, so it is very important that they do not end up abandoned in the environment.
Avoiding the "B-side" of gloves and masks
It is worth remembering the role we have in protecting nature and its environment, in the same way that these protectors do the same in our immune system with the virus. The idea of protecting in the same way that we are collected. An appeal that we have made these weeks of the beginning of the de-escalation, also taking into account that this virus causing the pandemic we are suffering, has a zoonotic origin, that is, it is related to the interaction of humans with nature, in particular with other animal species.
Avoiding the abandonment of these materials and saving us some images such as those found on several beaches in China, where this type of waste has already appeared, is a shared purpose that even Her Majesty Queen Sofia has joined. Within the line of joint work between the LIBERA Project and the Queen Sofia Foundation, for the past 3 years, we have been making progress, both in scientific research and in raising awareness to prevent the proliferation of the garbage (garbage abandoned in nature). This support reinforces what is a transversal movement, which has been joined by city councils, regional governments, companies, groups of different kinds or interpretation centers.
Once again, our power of decision as citizens can make the difference. The decision that this waste should never be left on the streets of cities and towns, nor in the natural spaces that we are so eager to enjoy again, but in the appropriate container. In the case of PPE (gloves and masks), they should go in the gray container (rest).
To make sure that landfill does not have a new excuse
We ask society to take responsibility for this new waste, so that it ends up in the trash garbage can on the street or in the garbage can of their homes and not on the ground in urban, periurban or rural environments, as it could become a new type of garbage and generate a negative impact on natural areas. This phenomenon pollutes seas, rivers, mountains, forests, reservoirs or beaches of our country, and is our declared enemy since we started more than three years ago. In 2019 alone, thanks to the more than 30,000 heroes who came to our '1m2 for the environments' campaigns, we managed to scratch the garbage 126 tons of waste and characterize more than 140,214 objects found - pieces and plastic bags, beverage cans or cigarette butts. This year, for the moment, we have not been able to carry out new editions of physical waste removal from our natural environments, but even from our homes we can contribute to the fight against litter. By becoming aware that a small gesture can prevent new waste in nature, we will be able to protect ourselves from the virus, and in turn, protect nature.