The Importance of Plastics during the COVID-19 Pandemic
As of June 2020, a new type of coronavirus has spread around the world, and Japan declared a state of emergency in April 2020. Around the world, people are frightened by this invisible new virus and can’t live their daily lives. This is something I have never experienced. Our lives have been variously restricted, we are rethinking our lifestyles while in self-isolation, and our attitudes and lifestyles have gradually changed. How do we, as engineers and researchers who work with plastic, feel about our changing lives? An email from a related association said, “Plastics have received a bad reputation in the industry for several years, but the need for and unmistakable value of plastic products such as protective clothing, face masks, gloves, and ventilator tubes as a
result of this situation [the COVID-19 pandemic] is evident on television every day.”
In addition, garbage bags are overflowing during this pandemic, and especially in Southeast Asian countries. Global coffee chains have prohibited
customers from bringing their own cups to prevent the spread of infection and have completely changed to disposable plastic cups and saucers. Various environment-friendly measures and measures to reduce garbage can’t even be compared to viruses that threaten our lives.
One of the advantages of plastics is that they are easy to dispose of, lightweight, and flexible, making them ideal for preventing infection. Many plastic products, including mask materials, play a particularly prominent role in our lives. Amid these social changes, the plastics industry is currently promoting the definite value of plastics. During this pandemic, plastic production has been reconsidered and a domestic return of production from overseas is being discussed. Many plastics companies had shifted production overseas solely because of low manufacturing costs. Amidst the standstill in exchanges with foreign countries and the flow of goods, Japan’s industrial structure and flow of its economy, including domestic production and consumption, need to be reexamined. For plastics companies, “high costs” are acceptable instead of simply looking at “lower costs.” We are experiencing a situation in which exchanges with both foreign countries and regions of this country have been halted. There is a need for “localized manufacturing” that capitalizes on regional features and characteristics.
continue to 2020 News Letter