Chennai

Mission Cleanliness: Born out of the pandemic

Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam   | Photo Credit: B_JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Twice a week, Pioneer Colony in Anna Nagar engages the service of a sanitisation professional who goes door-to-door spraying germ-killing disinfectants.

“Initially, we would call the Corporation’s sanitation team to carry this out, but as we wanted every nook and cranny covered including the terrace, we engaged a private sanitation professional for the job,” says K. Prabodha Chandra, secretary of the Association that has 120 flats.

The association has invested in the machinery and chemicals, and the professional is paid for executing the sanitisation work.

Patronage of sanitisation services is on the rise due to the pandemic, but how much of this demand would continue beyond it?

At 66-unit Ceebros THE Palms in Egmore, a spray is kept at the gym for members to disinfect the equipment before and after use.

“This supplements the regular cleaning carried out by the housekeeping staff,” says S. Girija, joint secretary of the Apartment association who is in-charge of housekeeping.

The pandemic has changed the scope and focus of cleaning services.

Earlier, any cleaning solution would do. Not any more, says Girija, adding that the emphasis on following best practices is pronounced.

DIY initiatives

Disinfection service providers point out that the pandemic has opened up newer opportunities for these professionals.

For them, June-July in 2020 marked a huge spurt in orders.

“We obviously do not witness the same demand now, as people have learnt to carry out sanitisation work themselves,” says K. R. Balamurali, president of Tamil Nadu Pest Management Association.

He says the Association conducts awareness programmes at apartment complexes, commercial buildings and offices about best practices laid down by the World Health Organisation.

“Sometimes we have clients who are not ready to allocate so much budget for cleanliness and sanitisation, so we train their housekeeping staff to take up the work,” says Balamurali.

The range of services can be expanded or trimmed depending on a client’s requirements.

“A gated community in Koyambedu wanted to engage our service but tried to beat us down on the fee, and so we offered to take up sanitisation of hand rails alone, as that is the most essential aspect of any cleaning exercise,” says Balamurali.

S. Premkumar of Unique Pest Management points out that sanitisation service has emerged as a new vertical for pest management firms. He deployed 60 staff over the last six months to attend to clients, a majority coming for post-COVID disinfection.

Some residential communities and commercial complexes, he says, have signed up for annual maintenance and many others for a monthly visit.

Says Premkumar, “With more institutions slowly reopening their doors to normality, we expect to see the demand continue for a few more months. Some want disinfection to be carried out on a regular basis.”

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 11:18:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/mission-cleanliness-born-out-of-the-pandemic/article33589927.ece

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