Prabkaya president asks for trash collectors to be vaccinated

Ever since the pandemic, many have come to call frontline workers – such as first responders and medical staff – “heroes”. However, there’s one more occupation that deserves the same title: trash collectors. It’s their very existence that allows us to keep our homes clean – and safe – amidst the stay-at-home orders.

Now, the president of Prabkaya – one of the largest waste disposal companies in Thailand – is calling for increased safety measures for these unsung heroes.

Here’s what the head of Prabkaya is demanding for these individuals, as well as what the Department of Health has been doing.

Recent Covid-19 news:

Prabkaya president requests for trash collectors to be vaccinated

Recently, calls have been made for the improvement of trash collectors’ safety. Mr. Theerawong Sanpipat, head of Prabkaya – a major waste disposal company in Thailand – asked that the collectors be vaccinated, and for the public to learn how to separate their waste. The demands were stated on 5th August 2021, reported The Thaiger.

According to Mr. Theerawong, trash collectors face a high risk of exposure to infected items, such as used face masks, everyday. Most of the time, they’re not properly disposed of – they should be put into separate plastic bags. Therefore, he believes that these workers should receive shots of Pfizer or other mRNA vaccines, as they are said to be more effective in curbing the spread of Covid-19.

garbage collectors
Image is used for illustration purposes only
Image credit: greenery.

Apart from vaccines, Mr. Theerawong also requested that the government provide testing kits and face masks for garbage collectors. He also urges the public to separate their waste, as it appears that they often dispose potentially infected items – face masks and gloves – along with regular rubbish.

Although there are specific bins for such waste, there aren’t many around in public either. Hence, the head of Prabkaya further asked for the government to make “red bags” – which are biohazard bags designed for infected waste – available to people for free in convenience stores.

This way, everyone, including trash collectors, will be at a lower risk of contracting the virus.

Department of Health’s guidelines for trash collectors and scrap metal dealers

On the same note, the Department of Health has released guidelines for scrap dealers and trash collectors. These regulations were released after reports circulated about a scrap metal dealer contracting Covid-19 from picking up a discarded plastic water bottle in Nakhon Ratchasima.

The guidelines include precautions that these workers should take, such as the necessary protective gear that should be worn while working.

Even though the virus is said to be able to survive on the surface of items for hours to days, it’s widely believed that their lifespan is shorter here in Thailand where the weather is hot and the sun is strong.

Nonetheless, the Department of Health still encourages everyone, particularly scrap dealers, to use disposable gloves as well as to avoid touching their faces and to take a shower immediately after finishing their work, as per Bangkok Post.

Safety for everyone

We hope that Mr. Theerawong’s calls will be answered; after all, nobody is safe until everyone is.

It’s admirable that he’s using his position and voice to advocate for these very important members of the community.

While we wait for the government to decide on what further steps to take in the fight against Covid-19, let’s all do our best to separate our waste to make things easier for our neighbourhood heroes.

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Cover image adapted from: Thairath

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