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After COVID its Monsoon that challenges BMC

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Last week a Mumbaikar had suggested the BMC to use drones to disinfect those containment zones which were unapproachable, said BMC insecticide officer Rajan Naringrekar. But to this suggestion, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said that it will not use drones to disinfect containment zones in the city and has termed the process “useless.”

BMC insecticide officer Rajan Naringrekar told AV “We had discussions with various experts on the viability, we understood that drones are useless in cleansing major touch points which have been identified across the containment clusters.” He further stated that the “Drones are not in a position to treat these touch points. It will release the disinfectant on rooftops or surfaces where the virus is not present, rendering the activity completely impractical.

These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are currently being used by the Mumbai Police to monitor the movement of citizens during the lockdown and make announcements in densely-populated containment areas where traversing by foot is difficult, he added. “Also, large network of cables in these zones will hinder spraying disinfectants,” said Naringrekar. Meanwhile, the confusion over the usage of disinfection chambers continues to prevail among state bodies despite the Centre’s advisory against its usage. While spraying disinfectants has been recommended for cleaning purposes, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued an advisory on Saturday that spraying disinfectants or using tunnels on individuals or groups “was not recommended under any circumstances as it is physically and psychologically harmful”.

“Even if a person is potentially exposed with the Covid-19 virus, spraying the external part of the body does not kill the virus that has entered the body. Also, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that they are effective even in disinfecting the outer clothing,” the advisory read. But in Maharashtra, disinfection tunnels have been installed across the state and the government plans to install more such chambers across marketplaces, government buildings and railways stations. “This is an unscientific process, which can lead to severe skin problems as well as health effects, if the sodium hypochlorite solution in the tunnel is inhaled in large quantities. It is best to be avoided,” said Dr Jerryl Banait, dermatologist and Supreme Court petitioner in Covid-19 matters.

However, the BMC has clarified that it will not be using disinfection chambers. Naringrekar said BMC will continue not to use disinfection chambers. “It gives a false impression that a person is cleaned and they will neglect the use of sanitizer or hand washing,” he said.

Currently, there are more than 720 containment zones across Mumbai, with the maximum ones at Worli, Prabhadevi, Byculla, Girgaum, Mazagaon and Tardeo. The insecticide department had identified five main touch points that citizens in containment zones need to be aware about to control community transmission. These touch points include common toilets, stair handles or railings connecting two or three-storied structures, parapets connecting one settlement to the other, sitting areas such as concrete platforms outside slum structures and door handles.

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