Industrial incinerators to be allowed to burn COVID-19 contaminated waste

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has issued an announcement, paving the way for industrial incinerators to dispose of leftover COVID-19 bio-hazardous waste, which is posing an increasing health hazard.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said today (Friday) that he had already signed the ministerial announcement, which will come into force when published in the Royal Gazette.

The move will make it possible for about 1,500 tonnes of the contaminated waste, from field hospitals and home and community isolation facilities, currently deposited in front of five industrial incinerators, to be safely destroyed.

The waste includes used PPE suits, face masks and used swabs produced daily by 1,115 field hospitals, 4,700 community isolation facilities and 57,325 home isolation facilities across the country. The amount is increasing by the day, beyond the capacity of existing incinerators or furnaces, and some of it is being burned in temple crematoria, which are not suitable for the disposal of the contaminated garbage, because they are not equipped with filters to prevent pollution and the temperatures are not high enough to eliminate the potential bio-hazard.

Director-General of Health Services Department Dr. Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai said that people responsible for disposing contaminated waste must wear proper protective suits and exercise caution to prevent the bags containing the garbage from leaking.

After completing their daily routine, they must wash properly and change their clothes before returning home.


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