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PLoS One ; 18(4): e0284492, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2297375


The use of facemasks is essential to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. University students are a significant demographic that generates substantial infectious waste due to the new normal practice of using disposable facemasks. In this cross-sectional study, we investigated the facemask disposal knowledge and practices among university students in Thailand between September and October 2022. We used a self-report questionnaire comprising 29 questions to determine the students' demographic characteristics and facemask disposal knowledge and practices. We then applied a logistic regression model to estimate the association between the students' facemask disposal knowledge and practices and their demographic characteristics. A total of 433 participants completed the questionnaire comprising health science (45.27%) and non-health science (54.73%) students. Surgical masks were the most popular masks (89.84%), followed by N95 (26.33%) and cloth masks (9.94%). While their levels of knowledge regarding facemask disposal were poor, the students' practices were good. The factors associated with proper facemask disposal were sex (AOR = 0.469, 95% CI: 0.267, 0.825), academic grade (AOR = 0.427, 95% CI: 0.193, 0.948), and knowledge level (AOR = 0.594, 95% CI: 0.399, 0.886). No demographic factors influenced knowledge. Our findings highlight the influence of facemask disposal knowledge on students' disposal practices. Information promoting the appropriate disposal practices should therefore be promoted extensively. Furthermore, continuous reinforcement by raising awareness and educating students on proper facemask disposal combined with the provision of adequate infectious waste disposal facilities could help reduce the environmental contamination of infectious waste and thus improve general waste management.

COVID-19 , Masks , Humans , Thailand/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Pandemics , Universities , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Students