BMA sets special bins for used masks
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has placed special bins for used face masks in 173 locations across the capital and has brought mask-disposal procedures up to the highest standards, the city administration said.
Of the 173 orange bins labelled "For Used Masks Only", 38 can be found in public parks in the city, said Chatree Wattanakajen, director of the BMA's Department of Environment. The rest of the bins can be found at the 50 district offices as well as BMA-run public health centres and hospitals under the BMA's supervision.
The orange bins are kept separate from ordinary rubbish bins and have been placed in highly visible areas to stop the stealing of used masks for reuse or resale.
Households can also place used masks in Ziploc bags or bags that are tightly sealed and hand them to garbage-collection trucks, which have special bins to hold these masks.
"Used masks are incinerated at garbage disposal facilities in Nong Kham and Onnut," Mr Chatree said.
The facilities have a combined disposal capacity of 60 tonnes a day, which is sufficient for the 40 tonnes of used masks discarded by Bangkok hospitals daily, he added.
Manit Techa-apichoke, chief officer of Krungthep Thanakom Co Ltd, the BMA's investment arm and agency in charge of collecting waste from hospitals in Bangkok, said waste has multiplied as the number of Covid-19 infections continues to rise.
Currently, Covid-19 patients are being treated at BMA-run hospitals. And though City Hall is practising stringent measures in dealing with hospital waste, measures have been further tightened in light of the spread of the virus.
Mr Manit said special procedures have been introduced to handle the Covid-19 waste. When alerted by hospitals that bins holding Covid-19 waste and used masks are full, garbage trucks are sent immediately to collect the waste.
The garbage collectors wear full protective suits and gear to pick up the waste. Once the waste is loaded, collectors remove the suit and discard it along with the waste before they are sprayed from head to toe with disinfectant.
The trucks have a special storage compartment to hold toxic or dangerous waste. Before the trucks arrive at the disposal facility, the collectors don a new protective suit to offload the waste, before discarding the suit and being sprayed by disinfectant again.
The Covid-19 waste is incinerated twice, Mr Manit said.