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9 Sep 2021

Econ Digest

The rising number of COVID-19 cases is set to generate double the amount of infectious waste compared with pre-COVID-19 periods


The persistent COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand and the rising number of daily cases are set to generate an increased amount of infectious waste during the remainder of 2021. KResearch projects that the amount of infectious waste, mostly stemming from disease prevention and control, will reach roughly 61.3 million kilograms during 2021, or a two-fold increase over the period in which COVID-19 had yet to emerge in 2019. KResearch assesses that related disposal costs will reach at least THB920 million in 2021. The increased costs of infectious waste disposal arising from COVID-19 are inevitable because the disposal is a prerequisite to protect the public’s health. On the other hand, the increased costs of infectious waste disposal that partially arise from the increasing needs for people to look after their health are seen as helping them reduce their opportunity costs from falling sick, though correct and safe infectious waste disposable methods are required.

Looking ahead, uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, a transition towards an aged society, increased risk of falling sick, and air pollution resulting from ultra-fine dust particles (PM2.5), all of which have prompted people to increasingly take care of their health, are bound to generate greater amount of infectious waste from hospitals and households. The challenge will be the efficiency and sufficiency of waste collection and management, including increasing the quantity of incinerators or infectious waste disposal plants, and campaigning to provide the public with knowledge and methods of proper segregation of infectious waste. Therefore, both public and private sectors, as well as the public at large, must be aware of management guidelines and should join forces in the management of infectious waste to protect their health and the environment.

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Econ Digest