Substandard masks flood market

Mahabub Alam

7th April, 2020 01:28:12 printer

Substandard masks flood market

Face masks fabricated with substandard and harmful fabrics flooded the city and cashing in on the Coronavirus fear.

The absence of monitoring of the authorities concerned against the profit mongers is blamed for such flooding of substandard masks.

Arman Hossain, a physician of the Medicine Department at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, says most of the masks being used now cannot prevent the spread of coronavirus.  He said N-95 mask or surgical ones are the best options to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As the N-95 facade is expensive and not available, the surgical one can be an alternative at this moment, he suggests.

About 10 to 12 factories used to make masks in our country. But as the demand increased, many small traders began to make masks with non-woven thermoplastic cloth, said a textile engineer on condition of anonymity. He added most of homemade masks are made with substandard non-woven thermoplastic cloth.

A middle-aged man beside the lake at Gulshan-1 was found selling on masks on Thursday.

Asked, he said he made the masks using his sewing machine. The masks seemed to be substandard. He also said many street vendors have leaned on ‘mask trade’ as their regular trade came to a halt.

A man was seen making masks with his sewing machines at Kawran Bazar.

The man seeking not to be named said: “I started to make masks when the demand began to rise. Made with cloth, these are very cheap.”

On the other hand, there is a shortage of surgical mask. Each was being sold Tk 15-20 against its regular price Tk 5.

Dr Arman Hossain has said the masks being used most commonly are not useful. “It can just save one from dust but not from COVID-19.”  He suggested wearing N-95 mask or surgical one as they are scientific and able to protect one from the virus.

On January 30, Bangladesh Medical Association’s (BMA) Shop Owners’ Association asked the mask sellers not to store masks and sell at a higher price.

But their words have fallen on deaf ears.

Textile Engineer Anowar Hossain said that scientific methods are not being applied to masks being sold now in most cases.