During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 28,000 tons (25,000 metric tons) of pandemic-related plastic waste, such as masks and gloves, have ended up in the ocean, according to a new study.

The analysis found that 193 countries produced about 9.2 million tons (8.4 million metric tons) of pandemic-associated plastic waste from the start of the pandemic to mid-August 2021, according to The Guardian.

In three years’ time, the majority of the ┬ádebris will shift from the surface ocean to beaches and the seafloor, with more than 70% washing onto beaches by year’s end, the authors wrote.

While in the short-term, the trash will mostly impact coastal environments near its original sources, in the long-term, garbage patches may form in the open ocean, the model predicts.

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