North municipal body uses drone to spray disinfectant on slums

Updated on Mar 31, 2020 02:34 PM IST

Covid-19: The drones have inbuilt carriers with a capacity of holding over 10 litres of sanitising liquid each

Covid-19: The special drone and can go up to a height of 20 metres and cover an area of 1.5 sq km in one go(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
Covid-19: The special drone and can go up to a height of 20 metres and cover an area of 1.5 sq km in one go(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByBaishali Adak, New Delhi

In a test project, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, on Monday sprayed disinfectant liquid over congested slums and unauthorised colonies in the Shakur Basti area of Keshavpuram municipal zone using a special “corona combat drone.”

Officials said these are essentially “agricultural application drones” which are used to spray pesticides on crops, but were adopted by China to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Later, this model was successfully replicated in South Korea as well, they added.

The officials said the liquid sprayed by the drones has no harmful effects on humans. “The sanitizing liquid being used is ‘a solution of 1% Sodium Hypochlorite in water, which through its soap-like action dissolves the lipid (fatty) outer layer of Sars-Cov-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) and kills it, but has no adverse effect on humans,” said a senior public health officer of the corporation.

“It is effective on the virus, but too weak to damage the human skin, eyes or the respiratory system in any way. It is being used worldwide right now,” said Dr Ashok Rawat, medical health officer (MHO), north corporation.

Procured by the north body from a Delhi-based private company, the drones have inbuilt carriers with a capacity of holding over 10 litres of sanitising liquid each. The special drone and can go up to a height of 20 metres and cover an area of 1.5 sq km in one go. They are also equipped with geo-fencing technology, which means they can be directed to cover any area through a software and will do the job precisely.

“We are already spraying disinfectant liquid in planned colonies, where the roads are wider, with the help of our tankers. We face problems in highly-congested areas where our 3000-litre capacity tankers cannot reach,” said Varsha Joshi, commissioner, North Delhi Municipal Corporation. “This is where drones come to our rescue as they can go anywhere and cover dense areas effectively. Also, they are operated remotely, so if an area reports a very high number of infections and our sanitation staff is afraid to go there, the drone can do the job safely,” said Ira Singhal, deputy commissioner, North Delhi Municipal Corporation (Keshavpuram zone).

Only one drone was used over Shakur Basti on Monday and the pilot was successful, said Singhal adding at least three more drones will be put to work in the coming days. “The district magistrate’s office is providing us a list of priority areas that need to be sanitised daily,” she said.

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