Coronavirus outbreak: NGO workers finally get masks, gloves to clean loos

Updated: Apr 15, 2020, 07:24 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

After mid-day report, NGOs under the Swachh Mumbai Prabodhan Abhiyan get gloves and masks from the Dahisar ward office

The masks and gloves were distributed among SMPA workers in the Dahisar area this week
The masks and gloves were distributed among SMPA workers in the Dahisar area this week

After NGOs under the Swachh Mumbai Prabodhan Abhiyan (SMPA) refused to disinfect community toilets citing the absence of protective gear and assurance of incentives, Dahisar ward office distributed masks, gloves and sanitisers among the workers and they have been assured of incentives.

After BMC's workers too refused to disinfect community toilets and containment areas earlier, the civic body had asked SMPA workers who are paid R5,400 per month to do the work. Many of them were, however, unwilling to take the risk without protective gear. The BMC workers are ideally only supposed to clean the public toilets.
Community toilets are usually maintained and cleaned by the contractors appointed by a local leader.

However, given the COVID-19 situation, the contractors refused to disinfect them and SMPA was, therefore, called in.

Following mid-day's report, R North ward office distributed masks, gloves and sanitisers among the workers on Tuesday morning.

"The PPE is only for doctors and nurses so we can't distribute it. We will give them money for the extra work after the decision comes from a higher authority," said Sandhya Nandedkar, assistant commissioner of R North ward.

The workers fear transmission of COVID-19 while disinfecting toilets.

"Our teams [BMC team] immediately disinfect toilets in an area if a patient is reported from there. We asked NGOs under SMPA to work for toilets under normal circumstances - in places with no patients. So they need not fear," said Nandedkar.

"The issue faced by sanitation and conservancy workers cannot be neglected. We are happy to get masks and gloves and our pending dues," said a member of an NGO in Dahisar.

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