COVID 19: Will the disinfection of markets make any impact?
Had it not been for COVID 19, only a few markets across the country would be disinfected or, say, fumigated. Mostly this exercise is being taken in the bigger markets.
On March 23 this year, government, through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, begun a disinfection of markets in Accra, was expected to roll over to other parts of the country. Indeed, other markets in some parts of the country have had their share.
The Western Region, beginning Monday [6 April, 2020] will have a total of 117 markets (limited to large and medium sized markets), disinfected with chlorine based disinfectants.
It is reported that Zoomlion, the company contracted for the exercise will be using an estimated volume of 40,000 liters of chlorine based disinfectant for the exercise.
Good initiative? Possible responses will be YES. But there are some concerns.
- How often will this exercises be taken in our markets during this crisis, and, even to say, after the crisis? The impression created so far is that, this will just be an EVENT. For years, the local assemblies only fumigate markets mostly to get rid of insects, rodents and other organisms. But for such a disinfection to get rid of the virus on all surfaces, it is recommended that it is done routinely.
- Risk of reintroducing the virus to the market is unavoidable. It remains a major challenge, getting people to keep to enhanced personal hygiene practices. Our markets, as busy as they become, and with most transactions hugely taken with cash, it is highly probable there is the risk [just to say there is a carrier/infected person/s] of having it [coronavirus] reintroducing the virus to the markets. This should be a concern local assemblies must draw their minds to, and consider a routine disinfection of the markets – not as a stop-gap measure, but complimentary. The Local Authorities had instructed the traders to cover up their wares or have them locked up in their stores/containers. But these could be infested too. As it remains, the WHO has charged all countries to employ innovative ways of preventing the spread of the disease – as there is no cure.
- Health implications. We need to draw our minds to the health implications of the application of chlorine based disinfectants. With the high concentration of the disinfectant, it is recommended that the sprayer wears protective gears. Yes that is being catered for, but what about those just within the vicinity [of the market] ? Ok, just visualise this. The Takoradi Market, is not just a market, it is a community. Over a hundred residential buildings surround the market, and most lie within a 20 meter radius. Reports are that SOLO Machine sprayers will be used for the disinfection. This means that a cloud of chlorine-based-mist will be blown on surfaces and other spaces around the markets. The danger here is that concentrates of this chemical will be carried in aerosols, and is likely to be inhaled by people living within the vicinity. Just to name a few complications to any person that inhales this content; Airway irritation, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, sore throat, cough, chest tightness, eye irritation, and skin irritation, etc
These are a few issues bothering my mind. Would you share yours. Comment below.