CHENNAI: Voters were not the only ones who swarmed the city streets on Tuesday; the masks and polythene gloves they wore while voting, too, made it to the sidewalks. People who walked out of booths, took off their gloves and masks, and promptly dropped them on floors and roads. The impact is two fold. One, those who may come in contact with them are at serious risk of catching Covid or other infectious diseases. Two, most of the gear pose a severe threat to environment.
While many people took their masks home, almost everybody disposed of their gloves at the venue. Many did not wait to find a dustbin. “Today I had been to my booth in Nanganallur to cast my vote. I was supplied with a below-50 micron glove,” said V Rama Rao, a civic activist.
In T Nagar, too, voters were supplied transparent polythene gloves. “We keep directing people to throw them inside dustbins. They nod their heads and do the opposite,” said a booth volunteer. This was the case in many booths, including in Royapuram, Harbour and TVK Nagar constituencies.
In most booths, dustbins were not lined with bags and people had to dump their used gear directly into the bin. Corporation staff who would later clean the bins stand a high chance of exposure to Covid.