Pollution is the forgotten global crisis and we need to tackle it now

2BNF11C Garbage at the Ant Flat Landfill in Wallowa County, Oregon.

Leon Werdinger/Alamy Stock Photo

IN THE lead-up to Christmas, my household began to feel like a badly managed waste-processing facility. We planned to spend time with vulnerable relatives, so were keeping a close eye on our covid-19 status. Each lateral flow test generated seven items of non-recyclable waste, which piled up in the bathroom until I bit the plastic bullet and binned the lot. They are now, presumably, in landfill.

The pandemic may have temporarily cut global consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, but from a pollution perspective, it has spawned an almighty mess. It became clear early on that large quantities of discarded masks …