Infectious waste fees to be tackled

Infectious waste fees to be tackled

Workers in protective gear spray disinfectant onto red trash bins used to collect infected and medical waste for disposal. (Photo: Chaiyot Pupattapapong)
Workers in protective gear spray disinfectant onto red trash bins used to collect infected and medical waste for disposal. (Photo: Chaiyot Pupattapapong)

The Internal Trade Department plans to hold a meeting with related parties to find ways to regulate contaminated garbage disposal charges after companies significantly increased their removal fees.

Chakra Yodmani, deputy director-general of the department, said tomorrow's meeting with related government agencies, including the National Municipal League of Thailand, the Health Department under the Public Health Ministry, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and waste disposal companies, would discuss fair rates for infected waste disposal charges.

During the latest outbreak, contaminated waste has sharply increased from hospitals, field hospitals, factories and infected patients in home and community isolation.

The Internal Trade Department reported infected waste disposal charges have increased significantly to more than 50 baht per kilogramme, up from 5 baht per kg before the outbreak.

Local authorities have not set a ceiling on the rates charged by the disposal companies they hire.

According to the BMA, the amount of contaminated waste in Bangkok has grown from 61.2 tonnes a day in April to 120 tonnes a day in mid-August, which exceeds the capital's infectious waste incineration capacity of 70 tonnes a day.

At the national level, the amount of contaminated waste rose from 212 tonnes a day in June to 276 tonnes a day in July, and the Public Health Ministry predicts the amount will climb to 331 tonnes a day sometime this month.

Thailand's recognised incineration capacity is 278 tonnes a day.

Infectious Covid waste requires specialist handling.

In normal times, such waste is typically limited to hospitals and medical facilities and is managed by a professionally licensed waste disposal company, which is costly.

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