COVID: Karnataka, TN install disinfection tunnels at markets for visitors

Tunnels set up at entrance of markets spray Sodium hypochlorite solution through nozzles on people who walk through to it; helpful for regular visitors like farmers and vegetable vendors

Disinfection tunnel installed in Hubballi, Karnatala | Twitter

As a precautionary measure against the deadly COVID-19, ‘disinfection tunnels’ are being installed in markets of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

In North Karnataka’s Hubballi district, one such tunnel was set up at the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) on Sunday (April 5).

Set up at the entrance of the market, the tunnel sprays a small amount of Sodium hypochlorite solution through nozzles on people who walk through to it. The solution helps in sanitising those who enter the market.

Sodium Hypochlorite as a chemical name may not be easy to recognise, however, it is the main ingredient used in laundry bleach.


It is strong chemical which is used extensively as a bleaching agent in the textile, detergents, and paper and pulp industries and also works as an oxidizing agent for organic products.

Interestingly, this chemical is also used as a refining agent of petroleum products in the petrochemical industry.

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Karnataka’s minister of Large and Medium Scale Industries, Jagadish Shetter said the tunnel is helpful for all the farmers, vegetable vendors and other people who visit the APMC market.

He said more such tunnels will be installed only after the current trial version proves effective. The cost of the tunnel ranges between ₹90,000 and ₹2 lakh.

Similar disinfection tunnels have been installed in the markets of Tamil Nadu’s Tirupur and Madurai.

The Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments have collaborated with Young Indians, the youth wing of the Confederation of Indian Industry to install these tunnels in their respective states.

How does a disinfectant tunnel work?

The device contains 1 per cent of Sodium hypochlorite solution in 100 litres of water. The dilution rate is one part per million (ppm) which is a permissible limit as per World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

As reported by The Better India, this unit was tested and reviewed by a team of doctors who deemed it safe to disinfect a market, where visitors are also required to follow social distancing and wear a mask.

The disinfectant is pumped through high-pressure pumps and sprayed like a mist via nozzles for three to five seconds. “People who are allergic to chemicals should avoid going through this chamber. We are putting signboard very soon,” Srinivas Joshi, a representative of Young India told ANI.

Generally, use of any kind of bleach is not recommended by dermatologists as it contains sodium hypochlorite which is a corrosive substance. On the skin, if the permissible quantity is overdone by even a per cent, the chemical can irritate the skin cells and in worst cases even cause burning sensations, redness, swelling and blisters.