Coronavirus outbreak: BMC sanitising slums across Mumbai

Updated: Mar 28, 2020, 09:49 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

While the mist spraying can wipe off any virus present on the spot, it cannot keep any place free of the virus in the future and citizens must follow all precautionary measures suggested by the government

This picture has been used for representation purpose
This picture has been used for representation purpose

In order to arrest the spread of Covid- 19, the BMC has started a massive sanitation campaign in slums across the city. A mist blowing machine which can spray a disinfectant in an area of 15- feet radius has been deployed for the job along with a Quick Response Vehicle of the Fire Brigade which can cover an area up to 7- metres.

While the mist spraying can wipe off any virus present on the spot, it cannot keep any place free of the virus in the future and citizens must follow all precautionary measures suggested by the government.

However, the chemical stock is limited and the civic body is struggling to get more of it amid high demand and low production due to lockdown.

Sodium Hypochlorite is used as a disinfectant. The same chemical is used in hospitals for sanitation. “ Presently we have stock of 11,080 litres of sodium hypochlorite. We are trying to cover most of the areas,” said Prabhat Rahangdale, chief of MFB. As per the campaign, the BMC will cover the maximum possible area by March 31.

"The mist blowing machine is brought under CSR activity. We are trying to get three more machines which will be deployed at various fire stations," said a civic officer.

"Our duty is to disinfect the house of Corona positive patients and passage, lift, railings where there are chances of viruses on the surface. The workers use battery- operated mist spray. The chemical neutralises the virus on the surface," said Rajan Naringrekar, insecticide officer of the BMC. The workers use goggles, mask and gloves for protection.

Disinfectant mist being sprayed in areas in Mankhurd . PIC/ATUL KAMBLE
Disinfectant mist being sprayed in areas in Mankhurd . PIC/ATUL KAMBLE

The BMC has started the sanitation from March 24. On the first day, 21 hospitals including Kasturba, SevenHills, KEM, Nair, Sion, Bhabha were sanitised. Also 12 ward offices, 10 civic markets and Pant Nagar police station has been sanitised. The BMC used 440 litres of chemical to make 22,000 litres solution.

The BMC has also sanitised Ghatkopar- Mankhurd Link Road, the stretch from Milan subway to Jogeshwari, Juhu- Versova link road, Mumbai Central bus depot, Majas Agar bus depot, and the Malavani bus depot on Friday.

How disinfectant is made

According to an expert, the dilution of the chemical is different for internal and external spraying. 20 ml chemical in 1- litre water is impactful for houses, markets or hospitals. Outside, around 50 ml of the chemical has to be used in 1 litre of water.

Manpower shortage

While the BMC prefers to sanitise areas where COVID- 19 positive patients are found, demand from societies and slums has increased."The stock of disinfecting solution is limited and even if we manage to get it, there is a shortage of manpower. It is difficult to arrange a group of five after calling 15- 20 people," said a corporator from eastern suburbs.

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