Mosquito menace: How effective are the city corporations’ initiatives?

Shahed Shafiq
Published : 07:30, Aug 18, 2019 | Updated : 07:30, Aug 18, 2019

Insecticide being sprayed by Mosquito fogger. PHOTO/ Sazzad HossainThe two Dhaka city corporations have taken several steps in order to deal with the ongoing dengue crisis and stamp out Aedes mosquito larvae.
While Dhaka South Mayor Sayeed Khokon has divided up the areas under his jurisdiction and appointed community ambassadors to identify the problems the citizens are facing, Dhaka North Mayor Atiqul Islam has undertaken a ‘sticker therapy’ initiative to destroy mosquito larvae.
However, there is still reservation about whether the steps undertaken by either city corporation will be effective in putting an end to the mosquito menace. Specialists are of the view that effective measures must be taken to handle the crisis.
On Jul 7, Mayor Khokon announced that he has divided up the wards under Dhaka South into four parts and appointed 28 community ambassadors. These ambassadors will be responsible for identifying in which area there is a higher concentration of mosquitoes and in need of repellents and then send city corporation employees there to spray the medicines.
Dhaka North and South had both formed emergency response teams led by ward councilors to deal with water logging during monsoon but only city corporation workers were seen working during these times.
This has inadvertently raised questions about how well the community ambassadors will be carrying out their jobs since they neither get paid, nor are they allowed to enter the homes of the citizens.
FILE PHOTOMayor Atiqul, on the other hand, divided the wards under his jurisdiction into 10 divisions and announced to comb through the homes to destroy mosquito larvae.
He pledged to appoint 100 people for each of the 10 division and engage the community in dealing with the crisis.
“Every committee will be inspecting the houses which I think will make the people more aware and free us from Aedes mosquitoes,” he said.
Saying that they are preparing to comb through the homes to destroy mosquito larvae, he added, “As a test case we want to lead raids on Aug 19 or 20. If this succeeds then other city corporations can follow suit.
As part of DNCC’s initiative to rid Dhaka of the mosquito menace and make people aware, stickers will be put up in front of the homes where larvae will be found.
FILE PHOTOThese stickers have already been printed and since Aedes mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, it’s important to inspect the houses every three day. However, whether the city corporation workers will be able to make those house calls and whether the citizens will allow is still shrouded in doubt.
Scepticism surrounds the sticker initiative as well since after the deadly fire at Banani’s FR Tower, fire service put up banners marking risky buildings but to no avail. In such situations, specialists recommend disciplinary actions to be more effective.
According to Jahangirnagar University Etymology Department Professor Kabirul Bashar, destroying the breeding grounds of Aedes mosquito is imperative to deal with the dengue crisis.
He says that similar to Kolkata city, the city corporation can use the legal vested to them in order to achieve that.