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  • Even a tiny rise in temperature would lead to the melting of permafrost, which could release many viruses trapped within
  • Meanwhile, to tackle the current crisis, the production of reusable masks and disinfection sprays should be scaled up

Instead of pointing fingers at each other, political leaders must build bridges and develop cross-boundary measures to limit the spread of the Covid-19 disease. And, once the pandemic is under control, they must explore long-term solutions to deter a recurrence.

Protective gear such as surgical masks have became a daily necessity to reduce the risk of contact with the Sars-Cov-2 virus. However, these disposable masks, which are mostly made from plastics, will add to our waste problem.

Reusable masks would help reduce the problem of plastic pollution and probably prove cheaper over time. The good news is that some local people and organisations have recently devised reusable surgical masks that meet international standards. However, we need entrepreneurs or the government to invest and expand these small-scale operations so they can respond to the surge in demand.

Local companies and universities have also developed sprays that can kill many types of viruses, including Sars-Cov-2. Should such solutions become widely available, we could use them on surfaces such as handrails, allowing the public to go back to work safely and help in the revival of the economy.

Prof. YEUNG King-lun from HKUST’s Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering; Prof. Joseph KWAN, Adjunct Professor from the Division of Environment & Sustainability and Mr. Hamilton HUNG, Chief Marketing Officer of HKUST’s industrial partner Chiaphua Industries Ltd, present the multiple opportunities in applications of the new coating formula MAP-1.

Prof. YEUNG King-lun from HKUST’s Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering; Prof. Joseph KWAN, Adjunct Professor from the Division of Environment & Sustainability and Mr. Hamilton HUNG, Chief Marketing Officer of HKUST’s industrial partner Chiaphua Industries Ltd, present the multiple opportunities in applications of the new coating formula MAP-1

No economy was prepared for the pandemic. But scientists have long warned that more viruses might emerge due to the thawing permafrost. In 2005, Nasa scientists successfully revived bacteria that had been captured in a frozen pond in Alaska for 32,000 years.

Permafrost is located in extremely cold regions where dead plants, animals and microbes have been trapped for millennia. As permafrost thaws due to global warming, this trapped organic matter becomes exposed and starts to decompose, releasing even more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and creating opportunities for viruses to be revived

The Arctic permafrost is melting, and could accelerate the climate change impact

It is estimated that permafrost holds 1.5 trillion tonnes of carbon, three times the amount that human activity has generated since the industrial revolution. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that even if humanity can cap the world’s temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, 25 per cent of the existing permafrost would still melt.

World leaders are currently focused on preserving their national economies and stopping the spread of the deadly virus. But, should they want to save lives and the global economy in the long run, they must transform all nations to become carbon-neutral ones.

Also, the outbreak of coronavirus might be connected with the consumption of wild animals. So, please stop eating wild animals.

Edwin Lau Che-Feng, executive director, The Green Earth

This article originally published in SCMP, Reprinted with permission from the author

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22-07-2020
#Consumption & Lifestyle, #Green Economy
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#Building Efficiency, #Energy, #Green Economy, #Mobility
06-07-2020
#Building Efficiency, #Consumption & Lifestyle, #Energy, #Mobility, #Waste

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