Chennai

Mask bank come up in Chennai neighbourhoods

These rectangular boxes are placed on makeshift stands, including a pushcart. They are called “mask bank”, and on the way to T.P. Chaitram Main Road near Kolathur police station, one is likely to see them. If they come across someone who needs a mask, the Corporation staff will dip into the mask bank and offer one.

With the help of the NGO Goodwill, the local body has been running campaigns around slum tenements to ensure residents wear masks.

These mask banks arrive in place that have witnessed a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“We focus on arterial roads in the locality as they are characterised by significant movement of people,” says S. Kalaiarasan, Assistant Engineer (AE) for Ward 102 in Zone-8 (Anna Nagar) of Greater Chennai Corporation.

Mobile mask banks can be spotted in areas like Telugu Lane, KVN Puram, T.P. Chaitram Main Road, Four Storey Tenements and V.S. Puram.

Each mask bank is manned by ORW (OutReach Workers) staff of the civic body between 8 a.m and 5 p.m except on Sundays when it is a complete lockdown. On an average, more than 800 face masks are given free from each of these mobile banks every day. Civic officials have distributed free face masks for all households in the neighbourhood of Ward 102 (T.P. Chathiram) that has a population of 13,000 residents.

Mime versus Coronavirus

Ganga Devi is in a creative outreach programme, one that is built around storytelling. She has dressed the part, playing the role of the novel Coronavirus.

With miming, she communicates to passersby that the novel Coronavirus can attack those who don’t wear face masks and avoid following social distancing norms at public places.

Along with officials of Zone 8 of Greater Chennai Corporation, NGO Goodwill organised a mime show at T.P. Chatram Main Road.

Ganga Devi, an outreach worker from the Corporation, took centre stage in this 30-minute mime-based awareness programme.

Free face masks and pamphlets were distributed to residents. A signature campaign was also organised in the locality where residents vowed to follow safety measures to keep the virus at bay.

In another initiative recently, more than 105 roadside vendors and small-time traders in Pulla Avenue near Kilpauk were screened by the civic officials of Zone 8 (Anna Nagar).

It may be noted that the Aminjikarai common market was relocated to the nearby playground a few weeks ago. In contrast, the street vendors and small-time traders are allowed to operate in Pulla Avenue.

With the rise in the number of positive cases in Zone-8 (Anna Nagar), civic officials felt the need to screen the street vendors in the neighbourhood on a daily basis. A special health team has been formed to monitor the health of vendors in Pulla Avenue on a daily basis.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 2:07:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/mask-bank-come-up-in-chennai-neighbourhoods/article32305724.ece

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