An Environmental Dilemma for China During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Explosion of Disposable Plastic Wastes

Jianli Liu*, A. Dick Vethaak, Lihui An, Qiang Liu, Yunfei Yang, Jiannan Ding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Plastic pollution control has been on top of the political agenda in China. In January 2020, China announced a phased ban on the production and usage of various types of single-use plastics as a solution to environmental pollution problems. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 seems to be a new obstacle to the ban on single-use plastic products. To basically satisfied the daily necessities and contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 under the background of the regular epidemic prevention and control in China, online ordering, contactless delivery and wearing mask have become an important and feasible way of daily life. However, the unrestrained use of disposable plastic bags, lunch boxes and masks within the nationwide quarantine leads to hundreds of millions of plastics wastes every day. The potential environmental pollution caused by the use of disposable plastic products during the pandemic should arouse social concern. The Chinese government should manage environmental protection in parallel with anti-pandemic endeavors as the situation of the pandemic evolves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-240
Number of pages4
JournalBulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Early online date29 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Contactless delivery
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Disposable plastic packaging
  • Environmental dilemma
  • Online shopping
  • Plastic pollution


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