The persistent COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand and rising number of daily cases are set to generate increased amount of infectious waste during the remainder of 2021. We at KResearch project that the amount of infectious waste will reach roughly 61.3 million kilograms (excluding medical waste from Thai and international patients) during 2021, or a two-fold increase over the normal period when COVID-19 had yet to emerge in 2019.
Due to the increased amount of infectious waste, KResearch assesses that related disposal costs will reach at least THB920 million in 2021, which would certainly be higher than that in 2019 when no COVID-19 cases were detected in Thailand. The increased costs of infectious waste disposal arising from COVID-19 are inevitable because it 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 effective 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), which have prompted people to increasingly take care of their health, are bound to generate greater amount of infectious waste from hospitals and households. Therefore, the relevant sectors, both public and private sector, as well as the public, should join forces in the management of infectious waste to protect our health and the environment.