Concerns around mask disposal

30 Apr 2021

A month, an estimated 1.8 billion face masks are discarded across the nation, raising fears among medics of a further spread of Covid-19.

The Department of Pollution Control (DPD) is in discussions with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and other provinces to encourage residents to follow correct disposal guidelines.

The DPD said, an increasing number of used face masks being thrown away with normal household garbage.

Garbage collectors that are tainted with infection expose to a high risk of contracting Covid-19 and further spreading disease.

According to DPD figures, 17.8 tonnes of face masks were collected from 2,690 locations across the country from June 1 to December 31 last year.

The DPD said the amount of discarded face masks is set to increase this year.

If everyone in Thailand throws away one mask every day, the overall amount of masks discarded in a month will be more than 1.8 billion.

Bangkok alone produces more than 20 tonnes of infected garbage a day, mostly masks picked up from hospitals and field hospitals treating Covid-19 patients.

The DPD suggested a special bin be used for masks. Before throwing the masks away, people should fold them in half and tighten them with a string. The masks should be gathered every 3-4 days and placed inside a plastic bag with the opening tightened with string.

The bag should then be labeled as infected garbage.