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Thai industry body lobbies for better disposal system for used face masks

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/dronepicr

The Federation of Thai Industries is pushing for an improved disposal system for discarded face masks, pointing out that they are the new threat to the environment. Since the arrival of the pandemic in early 2020, the number of discarded face masks has shot up, with reports of masks in waterways already affecting animals.

Apiphop Phungchaikul from the FTI says there’s an urgent need for proper disposal measures to combat the negative impact on the environment and on people’s health.

“Used face masks must be destroyed in incinerators to prevent the risk of disease and someone re-using them.”

The Bangkok Post reports on a proposal to use red plastic bags specifically for the disposal of used face masks, as well as having designated areas for people to discard their masks. The FTI is working with the government on the measure, along with a number of initiatives to discourage people from r-eusing disposable masks. Apiphop is calling on the government to launch an education campaign encouraging people to dispose of their used masks in the dedicated bins.

As the Veterinary Medical Aquatic Animal Research Centre at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University joins calls for a proper disposal system, Apiphop says this needs to be done promptly due to how long face masks are likely to remain in use. He adds that in addition to the economic impact of disposable masks, the pandemic has led to an overall increase in plastic waste. This is due to the increase in food and drinks deliveries as more people stay at home.

“People order food and drinks through delivery services and waste has increased, but it’s necessary to help the government control the virus spread.”

Some environmental campaigners claim that, despite a number of retail giants and department stores pledging to no longer hand out single-use plastic bags from January 1, 2020, the initiative did not last long.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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