Thursday, 20 January, 2022

No respite from invasive mosquitoes

No respite from invasive mosquitoes

After the deadly wave of coronavirus, Dhaka North City Corporation’s (DNCC) is now battling yet another big problem — mosquito menace — with its residents raising their eyebrows at the city authorities, reports UNB.

“A widespread invasion by mosquitoes has frustrated us all as it’s happening in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and hospitals are struggling to treat patients, including those of Dengue and Covid,” said Rezaul Karim, a private company executive living in Mirpur-6 area. 

Generally, he said, the mosquito population increases during summer and monsoon because of heavy rains accompanied by floodwater. “And places with rainwater are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.”

But the city dwellers are not getting relief from the mosquito infestation even in cold weather of December as the steps taken by the DNCC are said to be too inadequate.

The DNCC authorities, however, claim that they are doing everything necessary to deal with the situation.

The city dwellers in a number of areas under the DNCC alleged that the mosquitoes are spreading fast mainly due to the inability of the city corporation to destroy the breeding grounds of mosquitoes.

People cannot control the invasion of their homes by mosquitoes with just mosquito nets, coils or electric bats. Even spraying mosquito repellent does not work as a remedy, they said.

The Dhaka North City Corporation allocates crores of taka every year to control mosquito menace. It allocated Tk 110 crore for the 2021-22 FY to deal with the problem, according to the DNCC’s budget announcement.

Of the amount, Tk 45 crore was set aside to procure pesticides, Tk 3.50 crore for clearing weeds and hyacinths, Tk 3 crore for implementation of mosquito control programmes, Tk 27 crore for hiring beyond DNCC staff in mosquito control drives and Tk 4 crore for combing operations. Another amount of Tk 25 crore was earmarked for procuring mosquito control equipment.

Asked whether the DNCC has failed to contain mosquito menace, DNCC Chief Health Officer Brigadier General Md Jobaidur Rahman told UNB, “No, we haven’t. We’re working.”  

“It’s not only city corporations but also the government, semi-government institutions and citizens also have the responsibility of controlling this menace. Mosquitoes cannot be controlled at all, but they can be brought to a tolerable level,” Jobaidur said.

He also said a special drive will be carried out in every ward of DNCC to ease the problem.

Asked about the increasing mosquito population, DNCC Mayor Md Atiqul Islam told UNB this was not true. Mosquitoes are under control now.

“We’ve taken several steps to destroy mosquito larvae in the breeding grounds. Regular monitoring is there in each ward as we’re committed to bringing relief to urban life,” he said.

The mayor said, “We’re conducting a cleaning operation as well as fogging repellant in 54 wards of DNCC both in the morning and the afternoon.”

Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister Md Tajul Islam said two city corporations in Dhaka are working to contain the mosquito menace. “We’re also monitoring round the clock.”

The minister, however, said city corporations must play an effective role in mosquito control. “If someone’s negligence in mosquito control is noticed, the ministry will take immediate steps.”