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Covid-19’s silent victim

The social and economic impact of the coronavirus should not be understated, however, there is a lesser known victim of the coronavirus that hasn’t received as much media attention over the last year - our environment. 

Felix Ng *

Asia Gaming Brief recently sat down with Chris Rogers, a long-time gaming executive who recently co-founded Kroll Enviro Asia, a company aimed at solving sustainability issues within the integrated resorts industry.

With the coronavirus pandemic plaguing the world, Rogers pointed out that the supply and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE) has skyrocketed over the last year. PPE, including face masks and gloves have been instrumental to our personal safety and well-being, but it is also piling into our landfills and polluting our oceans at an astronomical rate. 

Around 36 pairs of gloves are produced and disposed of each time a person receives a dose of the coronavirus vaccine, said Rogers. With more than 2.5 billion people estimated to receive the vaccine by the end of 2021, that means we’ll be seeing at least 90 billion pairs of gloves added to the world’s landfills just from vaccines alone. 

“Every straw that we got rid of, every disposable cup, cutlery, shopping bag has now just been countered by the amount of gloves that are going to be administered around the world,” said Rogers. “I don't think we will see the full impact of that for another few years.”

Environmental sustainability has been one of the long-standing passions in Rogers’ life. Whilst he focused much of his time in the past with companies developing gaming products and technology, his latest venture has him delivering environmental products to all manner of companies and organizations, including casinos in the Philippines and Macau. 

“ Most people and operators that we’ve spoken to have [sustainability] goals that they want to achieve.” 

Unfortunately, those same casinos have been dealing with the brunt of the covid-19 pandemic, with closures and travel bans pushing GGR to record lows in 2020. Rogers noted that understandably, the conversation around environmental sustainability has had to be pushed down the line.

“Most people and operators that we’ve spoken to have [sustainability] goals that they want to achieve… but first things first, they have to be profitable and that their businesses are right before they can invest in sustainability projects. It’s been difficult over the last 12 months.”

Looking ahead, Rogers expects that the industry will continue to closely watch developments related to the covid-19 pandemic, but hopes that 2021 will see some stability in the markets, which would allow for companies to have the confidence to reinvest in their businesses again. 

“You have to be proactive, you can’t sit back and consume. Our resources aren’t infinite, we have to manage ourselves and our planet, and everything we use much better. We are [the gaming industry] a small part of that but it's all important, everyone has to do their bit. 

*Felix Ng - AGB Asia Editor 

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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