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22 January, 2019 12:34:46 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 January, 2019 09:07:35 AM

Mosquito menace grows in Dhaka

A 2018 survey by DGHS finds 66pc DNCC and 61pc DSCC areas ‘perfect for Aedes mosquitoes to breed’
Mosquito menace grows in Dhaka

With the mosquito menace having reached an intolerable level in the capital, the city dwellers are blaming the authorities concerned for their lacklustre efforts. Instead of adopting any systematic approach, both the civic bodies have taken a few ad hoc measures in curbing the increasing nuisance wrecked by mosquitoes. Sayem Ali, a resident of Tatibazar neighbourhood in Old Dhaka, told The Independent that the authorities are often seen spraying mosquito repellent in the area, but they are almost never seen working to root out the cause of the problem.

“I didn’t see any of them finding and spraying repellent on mosquito breeding grounds. Sometimes, I see them fogging in the area, but the waste dumped is never cleared,” complained Ali. The authorities, however, beg to differ. Talking to The Independent, Brig. Gen. Sheikh Salahuddin, chief health officer of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), said they identify and spray repellent on breeding grounds.

According to Salahuddin, the authorities conduct house-to-house inspection and fine or jail residents who are found to have unclean environments that help breed mosquitoes, especially the deadly Aedes mosquitoes.

Salahuddin said awareness programmes have also been conducted by the DSCC. “Our officials have visited at least 50,000 houses to spread the awareness about Aedes mosquito.”

Sources in the Health Ministry said a project titled "Infect Wolbachia Transfection" has been specially taken up by the government’s Plant Protect Wind (PPT) to curb the population of the deadly Aides mosquito.

Under the project, a bacterium will be planted in areas where mosquitoes lay eggs, and this bacterium will create another kind of mosquito to counter the Aedes population.

A survey in 2018 by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) found 66 per cent areas of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and 61 per cent areas of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) risky, meaning they are perfect for Aedes mosquitoes to breed.

These areas were full of potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes -- flooded floors all around and plastic buckets, discarded tyres, plastic drums, flower tubs, clay pots, water tanks, paint pots, plastic mugs and metal buckets left here and there.

The survey conducted in 41 sites in DNCC and 59 sites in DSCC areas found them most vulnerable for mosquito breeding.

According to both city corporations, there are around 318 bighas of  waterbodies in the DSCC area, while the DNCC has around 367 bighas. These waterbodies are cleaned by the two city corporations regularly.

Both Dhaka North and South City corporations said the waterbodies are owned by Rajuk, Public Works Department, Civil Aviation, Bangladesh Railway and other government organisations, with a few privately-owned ones. According to them, it is not in their purview and budget to clean these waterbodies.

The two city corporations have spent Tk. 131 crore in the last five years for mosquito control. In the last five years, South City Corporation spent Tk. 66 crore and 76 lakh on mosquito control. On the other hand, Dhaka North City Corporation spent Tk. 64 crore 20 lakh in the last five years to control mosquitoes.

Despite the progress of dengue control, budget allocation for mosquitoes has increased year after year.

The disease control room at the Directorate of Health published a report in September last year. It says 6,479 people were infected with dengue.

In Dhaka, 24 people died of dengue last year.

It is seen that from 2014 to 2018, 15,174 people were infected with dengue in Dhaka. Of them, 39 died. They are all residents of the capital.

Mostofa Kamal, a resident of the Mirpur Sewrapara area, said: “I suffered from chikungunya last year. I now slip into the bed covered by a mosquito net as soon as dusk falls."

“We close our windows before afternoon. But a large number of mosquitoes somehow get into the house. The repellents available in the market seem to be of little use against them,” he added.

Residents of Mirpur, Pallabi, Uttara, Adabor, Mohammadpur, Jatrabari, Mirhajirbagh, Kamragirchar, Manda, Mugda, Goran, Kathalbagan, Gulshan and Banani are among the worst victims in the DNCC area.

The DNCC's chief health officer, Brig. Gen. Zakir Hassan, told The Independent that they had bought adequate medicines and were spraying these in their area. “We held meetings with people from all walks of life and gave them the medicines for spraying in their areas,” he said. The two Dhaka city corporations have adequate manpower and funds to tackle the situation, but there is no special programme to control the mosquito population, said an official.

 “There was little activity to clean waterbodies and drains. In addition, there is lack of monitoring by top officials. Most of the waterbodies are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” he added.




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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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