P­lett’s am­bi­ti­ous fog-off

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Voorblad - – Staff Re­por­ters

P­let­ten­berg Bay is set to be­co­me the first South A­fri­can town to de­con­ta­mi­na­te its high-risk pu­blic spa­ces u­sing a de­con­ta­mi­na­ti­on “fog”. He­re a wor­ker in a pro­tecti­ve suit u­ses a lar­ge fog­ger to dis­in­fect out­door a­re­as in a vil­la­ge in Qing­dao, S­handong pro­vin­ce in C­hi­na re­cent­ly.

Co­me F­ri­day, P­let­ten­berg Bay will be­co­me the first town in South A­fri­ca to un­der­go lar­ge-sca­le de­con­ta­mi­na­ti­on of its streets and pu­blic spa­ces in an ef­fort to pro­tect the a­rea a­gainst the spre­ad of the coro­na­vi­rus.

Ne­w­ly ap­poin­ted P­lett Tou­rism chief exe­cu­ti­ve Ma­ri­us Ven­ter said he be­lie­ves in a pro­acti­ve ap­pro­ach and the­re­fo­re spear­he­a­ded the de­con­ta­mi­na­ti­on ef­forts, for which he has had the backing of va­ri­ous or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons in­clu­ding Bi­tou Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty.

The pro­cess in­clu­des get­ting a spe­ci­a­li­sed te­am in who will use a pro­duct, which was de­ve­lo­ped in A­me­ri­ca, to i­ni­ti­al­ly de­al with bi­o­lo­gi­cal thre­ats, to set off “fog­gers” and use a spray to de­con­ta­mi­na­te pu­blic and high-traf­fic a­re­as.

Ac­cor­ding to s­cien­ce re­views, the pro­duct is en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly. It is low in tox­i­ci­ty and cor­ro­si­ve ma­te­ri­als, be­nign to the en­vi­ron­ment and sa­fe for use in food fa­ci­li­ties. Ven­ter said the sa­me pro­duct has been u­sed a­round the glo­be, in­clu­ding C­hi­na w­he­re Co­vid-19 o­ri­gi­na­ted.

At the co­re of its in­gre­dients are hyd­ro­gen pe­rox­i­de, so­ap, in­or­ga­nic salts li­ke baking so­da, hyd­ro­gen pe­rox­i­de boost and wa­ter, and whi­le s­cien­ce re­views sug­ge­st the pro­duct is en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly, se­ver­al lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­ta­lis­ts ha­ve que­s­ti­o­ned the pro­cess fol­lo­wed be­fo­re im­ple­menting the me­a­su­re.

P­lett lo­cal Ju­lie Car­lis­le, who has a­bout three de­ca­des of ex­pe­rien­ce in va­ri­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal fields, be­lie­ves t­he­re should ha­ve been in­put from ex­perts be­fo­re going a­he­ad with the fog­ging. She said the­se ex­perts should ha­ve in­clu­ded doc­tors, a­bout the im­pact on re­si­dents, and s­cien­tis­ts a­bout the im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment.

The exe­r­ci­se would cost a­bout R50 000, an a­mount Ven­ter said has been co­ve­r­ed by the i­ni­ti­a­ti­ve's part­ners.

He said the fog­ging would be con­ducted du­ring the e­ar­ly hours of F­ri­day mor­ning and will fo­cus on the town’s Main S­treet, be­a­chfront, high-traf­fic a­re­as li­ke lo­cal taxi ranks and ot­her a­re­as that po­se ris­ks.

Bi­tou mu­ni­ci­pal spo­kes­per­son An­di­le Namn­tu con­fir­med the plans.

He furt­her an­noun­ced that Med­li­fe pa­ra­me­dic ser­vi­ces ha­ve al­so part­ne­red with Bi­tou and ha­ve ma­de a­vai­la­ble an am­bu­lan­ce, ge­a­red to de­al with Co­vid-19 ca­ses, and a de­di­ca­ted te­am to go out to tho­se who need as­sis­tan­ce and de­al with is­su­es re­mo­te­ly.

“It is a chal­len­ging ti­me, but his­to­ry has taug­ht me that we stand to­get­her w­hen cri­sis stri­kes and I ha­ve no doubt that t­his will be one of tho­se mo­ments,” Ven­ter said.

P­ho­to: Sup­p­lied I Graphic: Pix­a­bay.com

A mem­ber of the He­alth and Hy­gie­ne te­am set to un­der­ta­ke the task of dis­in­fecting P­let­ten­berg Bay’s high-risk a­re­as fol­lo­wing the no­vel coro­na­vi­rus out­b­re­ak.

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