SANE Points Out to Director RMRC

Port Blair, May 28: Innumerable varieties of face masks ranging from cotton, jute, viscose, synthetics, N-95, 3 ply non-woven and even recycled innerwear are available in the market, as choice to the public to protect themselves from the corona virus. In addition to the face masks, a variety of hand sanitizers have come up in the market, which is assumed to be affective against the corona pandemic. While the Government of India has notified the use of face masks and advised the use of hand sanitizers, no proper specifications on the use is now posing potential health hazard to the public health.

People have been using different kinds of materials to cover their faces and there are instances wherein facemasks which are supposed to be used for few hours are being used for days because of lack of proper information by the concerned authorities. The same goes with hand sanitizers.

Apprising about the issue to the Director, Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC/ ICMR), Dr. Vijayachari, the Secretary of Society of Andaman and Nicobar Ecology (SANE), Samir Achayra in a letter (a copy of which has been marked to the Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Shri Chetan B Sanghi) stated today, “I have come across innumerable verities of “Masks” advised for COVID 19, protection. Cotton, Jute, Viscose, various synthetics, N-95, 3 ply non-woven and even recycled inner wear.  As an informed layman certain questions occur to me listed below and I seek to be enlightened.

“1) Manufacturers of masks including N-95 ones recommend use for 6 hours only.  If reused, sterilization before reuse is a must.

“2) Encouraging everyone to devise their own masks, does not appear to be a very bright idea. The Administration and even the Govt. of India needs to be advised.

“3) For Corona virus protection, wearing the masks well with soap and sun drying (for 20 minutes or more) is considered to be a good idea.  Since viral particles of Covid decompose at 35 degree C and this temperature is very common along the territory.

“4) There has been a lot of publicity for use of a mask.  But information on reuse and sterilization before re-use or discarding of used masks are sadly lacking.  This could pose a potential hazard for public health.

“I think collection of a mask of each variety and putting these in a resource might be a good idea to create awareness and check the affectivity of different designs will be a good idea.  This project can be taken up by Polytechnic, JNRM, Medical College or some such Institution”, the Secretary SANE stated. 

Pointing out on a wide variety of sanitizers selling in the market, Acharya suggested the Director RMRC that it will be a good idea to stipulate standard specification for each variety to enable users to make an informed choice.