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InBrief · 13 Oct 2020

Disinfection Threatens Aquatic Ecosystems

On April 10, Chinese scientists at the CAS Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences reported in Science that the massive use of disinfectants to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may cause collateral damages to the aquatic ecosystems (doi: 10.1126/science.abb8905). China has dispensed at least 2,000 tons of disinfectants in Wuhan City alone. These chemicals can get into sewage systems and pollute drinking water resources. Both the direct runoff and indirect sewage effluents will eventually end up in lakes and rivers, putting aquatic ecosystems at risk. They caution the potential backfire from polluted water, and call on the governments of China and other affected countries to conduct aquatic ecological integrity assessments during and after the pandemic to protect biodiversity.