Plan to spray aerial disinfectant over Bengaluru to curb Covid spread put on hold over environmental concerns

A pilot project announced by the Karnataka government, which involved spraying organic anti-microbial solution in the air in a bid to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, has been now put on hold after environmental and health concerns were raised by the city’s civic body.

On Saturday, the government had announced that it would in collaboration with Aerialworks Aero LLP, a private company, fly an American Champion Scout aircraft carrying around 100 litres of organic anti-microbial solution which would be sprayed over congested areas such as Shivajinagar, City Market and Majestic areas. The pilot project was to be carried out from 8 am to 10 am for three days starting from Monday.

But the plan was put on hold after Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner said a study needs to be carried out first on the health and environmental impact of the project before launching it.

Speaking to, BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said, “The  aerial spraying of organic disinfectants needs to be studied properly before the plan being implemented. The private company had earlier taken permission from us for an experimental flight, which was allowed. But after we had consulted various stakeholders, a decision was taken to temporarily halt the project till a proper study on this is conducted.”

The aerial spraying exercise was to be carried out by Aerialworks Aero LLP and Sugardhana Organic Antimicrobial.

On Saturday, Revenue Minister R Ashok had inaugurated the programme at the Jakkur Aerodrome in North Bengaluru. Speaking on the occasion, he said, “This is a pilot project. After we get the results from Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and the health department, it will be extended to the entire city. Our government is open to all kinds of solutions which will help in reducing Covid-19 in the city.”

After the project was announced, concerns were also raised by certain stakeholders over the fact that the company has an approval from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to carry out such operations.

Speaking to, Captain Murali Ramakrishna, chief pilot of Aerialworks Aero LLP, who said that he had specialized in executing such large-scale operations in Africa and the USA, said, “All the required DGCA approvals are in place and there was no deviation at the time of the inaugural flight. To assure the public, the actual spraying will happen at 1,000 feet above ground level as per the DGCA-approved SOP.”

Meanwhile, the companies which had collaborated with the government to conduct the aerial spray said the spray was safe and had been certified by the ICMR and AYUSH department.  Mansi M, one of the partners from Aerialworks Aero LLP, said “Aerialworks Aero LLP, PerSapein and Sugaradhana companies are carrying out this pilot project at no cost. We have decided to bear the expenses for this project which can help our city. Both the solutions used are safe and environment-friendly.”

He added, “PerSapien Super Iodized water is an ICMR-approved disinfectant and studies have been done to prove that it is safe for use on skin and surfaces. It has also been approved by IIRT. Sugaradhana Antimicrobial Disinfectant solution was tested as per ICH guidelines and found to be safe for skin with no side effects. It has also been certified by Radiant Research and other government bodies. The BBMP has utilised the same solution to control the spread of Covid-in parts of Bengaluru city in 2019.”

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