The guidelines set out to ensure the safety and health of voters on Polling Day indicate that Singapore might see a huge amount of waste from one-time use plastics, just from that day alone.
Due to the contagious nature of COVID-19, all voters are to put on disposable gloves before getting their ballot paper, and election officials will have to don protective gear to keep them safe. Out of the 5.8 million people in Singapore, 2.65 million will be eligible to vote in the upcoming elections. This means that about 2.65 million pairs of disposable gloves will be used in a single day — a huge amount of plastic if the gloves distributed are plastic gloves. This still excludes the waste from the protective gear of the election officials.
Although the upcoming election seems to be steering clear of the huge amount of plastic and other material used to make banners, posters, mascots, and other campaign goods, Polling Day under Covid-19 more than catches up to that.
It is not known if there will be recycling bins provided at polling stations, but if it is not, many of the gloves may end up with the general waste. In Singapore, general waste is dealt with by incineration. When incinerated, plastics release greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming. Although some may argue that the amount of waste from the day may not amount to much when looking at the bigger picture, looking at it as the waste generated from one island country holding its elections shows a different picture.
Ultimately the pandemic has demanded an increase in the use of one-time use plastics and waste in Singapore, from takeaway packaging and now to voting gloves.
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