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'Pigeon Poop, Sweat Allergy': Reasons Why Mumbaikars Shun Masks Despite Covid-19 Surge

The BMC collected Rs 19 lakh as fines from over 9,200 individuals who flouted the mask rule between September 13 and September 26. (Representative Image)

The BMC collected Rs 19 lakh as fines from over 9,200 individuals who flouted the mask rule between September 13 and September 26. (Representative Image)

The BMC collected Rs 19 lakh as fines from over 9,200 individuals who flouted the mask rule between September 13 and September 26.

After the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) made it compulsory for residents of Mumbai to wear masks in public spaces amid Covid-19 pandemic, the civic agency has till now, penalised 14,000 people for violating the guideline. Health officials say that despite the order, several Mumbaikars are spotted out on a morning walks with their masks lowered to their chins.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, till September 26, BMC had collected fines amounting to Rs 52.76 lakh for the non-observance of the mandatory mask rule. Jyoti Jadhav, from A ward’s SWM department, told the publication that when these individuals are quizzed, they complain of breathing issues. She added that many even claim to be suffering from asthma and feel suffocated while walking wearing masks. However, Dr Prashant Borade of Global Hospital said there is no scientific evidence that proves that wearing masks leads to asthma or other serious breathing ailments.

It was in June when the city's civic agency put out an order that made mask-wearing compulsory in public spaces. The rule was enforced through the field officers, 25 from each ward who were selected from the solid waste management (SWM) department. The officers have come across bizarre reasons from residents for not wearing masks. “...Some even say it flew off while they were riding a bike. Once, a defaulter told me that a pigeon had pooped on his mask,” field inspector Dharmesh Salvi was saying.

The litany of excuses includes sensitive skin, sweat allergy, heat rash, with many also saying that they were eating something before being identified by the field inspector.

The BMC collected Rs 19 lakh as fines from over 9,200 individuals who flouted the mask rule between September 13 and September 26. Notably, since September, the fine is Rs 200. On Tuesday, BMC said that individuals not wearing masks will not be permitted to access public transportation. Malls, offices and other private spaces have also been directed to limit entry to only those wearing masks.

Meanwhile, Mumbai on Wednesday recorded 2,654 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the total tally to 2,05,142, the BMC said, adding that 46 fatalities took the toll to 8,926. At 2,389, Mumbai had reported the highest number of new cases in a day on September 17, it said.A total of 2,066 patients were discharged in the last24 hours, taking the total count of recoveries to1,69,268, the BMC said. The city now has 26,540 active cases.


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