Amid rising coronavirus cases, CSIR's Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology, which is known for research on minerals, has come up with foot-operated washbasins that will be installed in Mumbai's Dharavi. The slum area has so far reported 189 cases Covid. These washbasins are such that users do not have to use their hands to get water or soap, thus helping in minimising the chance of coronavirus spread.
"An important contribution from @csirimmt towards CSIRFightsCovid19 by developing hands free washing stations which will be deployed at Dharavi, Mumbai (sic)," the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), a department under the Ministry of Science and Technology, tweeted.
Designed by IMMT scientist P C Deuria and technical officer R K Mondal the foot-operated machine has pedals. Pressing one will dispense soap, while another will release water, director of the Bhubaneshwar-based institute Suddhasatwa Basu said. "With no hand contact, this will help in curbing contamination," Basu told PTI, adding they will hand it over mostly to the Brihnamumbai Municipal Corporation.
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He said they installed the washbasin at the institute's gate on the very first day of the lockdown. Guidelines issued by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser earlier this month, had specifically recommended foot-operated wash basins for Dharavi.
"We then developed it further. From mild steel, we made changes and used stainless steel. Changes were also made in faucets that dispensed less water but with effective flow," Basu said. The challenge was to produce it in mass quantity, he added.
With the lockdown in force, no raw material was available. They then approached the Medium and Small and Micro Enterprises in Bhubaneshwar, especially those who deal in building metals doors and windows and roped them to manufacture it. The foot-operated wash basins were also given to local authorities in Bhubaneshwar, Basu said.
729 fresh novel coronavirus cases were reported in Maharashtra on Tuesday, taking the state's total tally to 9,318. With 6,169 cases and 244 deaths, Mumbai remains a major COVID-19 hotspot in the state. After 106 patients were discharged in the day, the number of recovered persons has increased to 1,388. Maharashtra's death toll surged to 400 as 31 individuals passed away due to COVID-19 in the day.
(with PTI inputs)