City officials look at a drone that will spray disinfectant over public spaces in Merida. Photo: Courtesy

Drones don’t just take pretty photos of the city’s parks and churches. They also spray public areas with disinfectant, when needed.

It’s a concept that started in China, ground zero in the war against coronavirus, and was also used in Spain, Italy, Chile and Colombia. Britain is mulling over the idea, but is concerned about safety and effectiveness.

Progreso started spraying its public spaces this morning, and Merida announced plans to do the same, using sanitizer liquids that remove the cell membrane from coronavirus.

A drone spraying chlorine dioxide flies over Progreso. Photo: Courtesy

“We are one of the first Yucatecan municipalities to initiate actions of this type, with which we want Meridans to feel confident that their authorities are doing everything in their power to care for all families,” said Merida Mayor Renán Barrera Concha, who examined a drone sprayer outside the Portal de Granos and Parque Eulogio Rosado.

He said that this type of aerial sanitation complies with all the protocols necessary to be effective and mitigate as much as possible the effects of COVID-19.

Barrera Concha reported that in this work the City Council coordinates with the company Prospective Vision, which is friendly to the environment and provides DJI Agras MG-1P model drones, normally used for crop dusting.

The Drutri Clean spritzed over mercados, parks and other public spaces is said to eliminate up to 99.999% of viruses, bacteria and spores. The product is also chlorine-free and deemed non-toxic to people.

Two drones in Progreso sprayed chlorine dioxide over Parque Independencia and the malecon area this morning. City officials said their spray is also safe, and already in use in Australia, China and Spain.

Progreso has used video drones since March 28 to enforce the stay-at-home edict. Police speak through the drones’ loudspeaker system to warn startled people on the ground about the ongoing dangers of contracting COVID-19.

In England, where officials are taking a careful look at the concept, Steve Wright, an aerospace engineering expert said concerns about crashes and malfunctions have always driven UK law regarding drones.

“However, now people are working the numbers and saying, ‘Is the danger of flying a drone over a public park greater than the danger of not doing it?’ In times of crisis, people’s attitudes to technology completely transform,” said Wright.

Sources: Punto Medio, Desde el Balcón, BBC

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