Health concerns among waste collectors during pandemic crisis

Qing Ye, Fahad Asmi*, Muhammad Azfar Anwar, Rongting Zhou, Ahmad Nabeel Siddiquei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the economic, social, and psychological aspects globally. COVID-19 can possibly spread through municipal solid waste (MSW) if it is collected, bagged, transported, and disposed inappropriately. Such situation has posed significant challenges to MSW management (MSWM), which has led waste personnel under massive pressure. This study aims to examine the health-protective behavior of sanitation workers/MSW collectors (MSWCs) during the COVID-19 crisis. Quantitative data were collected by using a self-administered survey from 418 MSWCs working in Mainland China. The study extended the traditional health–belief model and proposed education and training as a facet of the behavioral model. Result showed that education and training were a significant predictor of health-protective behavior. Moreover, the moderating incremental influence of regulative assistance significantly affected the behavioral mapping of MSWCs. This study contributes to the literature by mapping the concerns, risks, and challenges experienced by MSWCs in times of a health crisis. Policymakers should specially consider the safety and hygiene concerns of frontline workforce in the whole chain of waste management (including the outsourced operations of MSWM). Lastly, the adoption of smart communication with the frontline workforce (i.e., MSWCs) is in dire need to maintain trust and avoid rumors and misconceptions during the time of a pandemic situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6463-6478
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


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